I never wanted to be a writer, as a matter of fact I still don’t know if I want to be one. Through the journalism classes I have taken all I hear about is the hard work and rejection you will face in the career path. Who wants that? Researching ideas, sending out query letter after query letter just to be faced with an “I’m sorry but no thank you” e-mail, if you are even lucky enough to get a response from an editor. There’s certainly no job security. There’s not much hope for making a substantial income. And how many journalists are actually known worldwide? It sounds like a never ending uphill battle to me, no thank you. But then why do I keep taking journalism classes? Why do I keep writing? I don’t even like writing most days, but something keeps bringing me back.
Growing up in school once a teacher assigned an essay or paper of any sort it felt like a jail sentence for me. Call it writers block or just plain lazy, but I would be bound to my computer for a solid week trying to figure out an essay that would be good enough to turn in. I wrote like I talked, and I feel like I still do. “A way with language” was never how any of my teachers would describe me. Not only could I not write but I didn’t even like to read much. Shakespeare was like deciphering another language, poetry was just superfluous, flowery language, and novels were always too long. Literary discussions never went too deep with me because I never understand the many layers to writing. Why can’t the author just say what he/she wants us to know? Don’t make this complicated.
When I was sixteen my mom bought my sister and I journals for Christmas just as a side gift. On the front were rows of rainbow peace signs, and in small capital letters on the right hand side it said “IMAGINE”. That journal sat on my bookcase for about two years before anything was ever written inside. The night before I left for my first year of college was my first entry. It was the first time words just came to me. It would be another three months before the journal would be found again. After being introduced to “Stumble Upon”, I found inspiration through the many stories and quotes I stumbled on and needed a place to collect my inspiration. Quickly the journal began being filling up with others ideas, quotes and stories. Soon I began jotting down sayings I overheard, dreams that would be on a bucket list, texts I wanted to save, and thoughts about my days. The book that once stood, dusty and unused on my bookcase now became a part of my everyday belongings. I began to write. When inspiration would fail me, I began to read. Soon I read everything from magazines to advertisements, to borrowed books to newspapers. Inspiration comes from everywhere, and I soaked as much of it in as I could.
I still don’t know if I want to be a writer, but my mom always told me all successful people need to know how to write, and write well. So regardless of if it becomes a career, it’s a skill I work on every day. The best writing advice I ever got was from my Feature Writing professor at Roehampton in London, which was also the first journalism class I had taken. I was having trouble on an assignment for her class and with all the writing assignments due I simply lacked inspiration and didn’t have a passion for any of the words that ended up on paper. After explaining my trite situation all she said was, “Erin, writers write, you’ll find the correct words but for now, just write anything.” Writers write, well obviously. It didn’t help me much at the time and I walked away more confused and as discouraged as ever. But on my month long break between semesters it finally began to sink in. Not everything I was going to write was going to be a masterpiece, or even decent; but I would never write a masterpiece if I didn’t fight through the writer’s block every time. That day I made it a point to write at least 600 words a day. They didn’t have to be good, they just had to make sense and it became my daily chore. Five months later I still find myself writing everyday (almost), it’s my practice, my daily exercise, my one step closer to a masterpiece.
So here are my 781 for today.