The question posed by this writing contest is a difficult one to answer because I cannot picture my life...or myself, without the writing element included. The written word has been my best friend for as long as I can remember. As a child I was sometimes embarrassed to admit that my favorite hobby was reading. Everyone else loved sports or crafts, hiking or dancing. I loved a good book.
Many bibliophiles grow into writers, and my love for writing grew up with me. Beginning with one diary after another, my scribbles recorded everything from what I got for my birthday to which fifth grade boy looked at me that day. In later years when I learned that I was expecting my first baby, my first purchase was a brand new journal to record the wonderful and scary adventure I was about to have. Today my overflowing shelf of overflowing journals is the perfect resource for the nonfiction book I am working on.
"How has writing influenced my life?" I believe that writing has helped me find my authentic self. I know that the word "authentic" has recently become heavily over used, but it is the only correct word at hand to answer this question. I will try to explain what I mean by "authentic".
I do not really know what I think until I read what I write. On my journal pages I may begin an entry with complaining and grumbling about situations or people in my life. Then I sit there and read it over...and the ugly negativity jumps out at me and I am embarrassed at myself. Seeing my whiny self-indulgent words in black and white on the page do more to reveal myself to myself than any full-size mirror could ever do.
Very often the journal entry will then move from spoiled entitlement to thankfulness for the life I get to enjoy. There is something stark and revealing about the written word. Even if you are both the writer and the reader of those words.
So writing has revealed my authentic self to me. Writing has influenced me to become a better person, a more grateful and giving person. Writing has helped me to be a more honest person...with myself and with those around me. Blogging has been a place to be real in front of strangers. The beauty of writing is that it has moved my readers from being strangers to being friends.
How utterly amazing is that? Simply tapping on a keyboard has the power to transform perfect strangers into true friends. Writing has no geographical distance barriers. My written words reach all over the world in nano-seconds. I have faithful blog readers from coast to coast of the USA and from India, Malaysia, Africa, and Brazil according to my statistics this morning alone. I even have a couple of very close friends whom I have never even met in person!
Writing reveals me to me. I will type out an opinion about some current event, and then immediately hit the backspace or delete button as I realize that the words are not mine. They were simply parroting what I have read or heard from someone else. Writing forces me to find my own voice and my own view. Writing shows me what I feel and think. I am more real when I write than I am in person. Now there's a scary and weird thought, right? I am not as nervous when I am writing as I am when I am talking. Maybe if my talking voice had a handy delete button it would be much more confident and authentic.
When I read what I write, I know what I think. So as I read this blog post over, I can now proudly say without any embarrassment at all, that writing is not only my hobby, but it is my passion!
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