JW 1 larger

Writing is an occupation fraught with self-doubt and self-loathing mixed with bouts of enthusiasm and inspired brilliance. And hanging low above the whole thing is a dark cloud, an ever-present fear that someone is going to figure out that you’re a fraud.

A sham. A scammer. A hack. Not a “real” writer. You snuck in the side door and somehow managed to hang on this long. That you sure don’t have a real grasp on grammar.

We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
—Ernest Hemingway

I earn a living as a writer, but I don’t have a clue what a dangling participle or split infinitive is. Every time my boss points one out in one of my stories, I have to Google it. I’ve Googled it a lot…and I still don’t remember what they are or how to avoid them.

I routinely mix tenses and use the “passive voice.” Whatever that is. Sometimes I know and I don’t care because I’m a rule-breaker, baby, and sometimes I don’t even realize it I’m doing it (oops…I think I just did it again).

Style means the right word. The rest matters little.”
—Jules Renard

Look, I just write stories.

I see them everywhere. In the woman eating alone in the corner booth at McDonald’s. In the squirrels chasing each other in circles up a tree outside my window. In the crumbling building on the edge of campus. In that maple tree in March that is still rustling with the dead leaves of autumn.

I have so many questions.

Why didn’t that tree lose it’s leaves? How did they hang on through a bitter cold, windy winter? What will happen when spring buds appear? Will the spring buds finally make 2015’s leaves let go? Are there other trees like this? What makes a tree desperately cling to it’s dead leaves?

Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it’s the answer to everything. … It’s the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it’s a cactus.”
—Enid Bagnold

I find stories in the most unlikely places and at the most unlikely times. Usually it’s when I have time to think. This is why you’ll find  Post-it notes and a pencil in all sorts odd places around my house– the bathroom vanity, the door pocket in my car, in my workout room, etc.

I think, no, I know, that I notice more than most.

Connections, tiny common threads that run through experiences or people or things, reveal themselves to me like an intricate spider web made obvious when coated with morning dew. (ugh…did I just write that? See? Hack!)

I feel compelled to share what I see. To tell the stories.

I’m still not sure why, but a quote in a TED talk (below) by Richard Seymour, recently made me think: This is why I do what I do.

Sometimes you don’t realize something is beautiful until you know the story behind it.” — Richard Seymour

Some people plant flowers. Some people feed the homeless. Some people craft incredible works of art. Some people write soul-moving music.

I tell stories. I point things out. This — tada! — is my contribution to the world. And hope you see the beauty in my stories and the world around you.

(Even if I blatantly abuse dashes and ellipses and don’t have a clue where to put a comma or when to use a semicolon. Pssshh….whatever)

Let the world burn through you. Throw the prism light, white hot, on paper.”
—Ray Bradbury

____________________________

About Just Write: Just Write is my adaptation of free writing, a technique in which a person writes continuously and quickly without little regard for spelling, grammar, or topic. It helps writers overcome blocks of apathy and explore everything from meaningful topics to mundane observations with the same effort and without the pressure of crafting perfect prose. I just start writing.

“What ends up revealing itself when free writing is that everything has meaning. That is a magnificent gift of writing. If we write from a free heart-gut place, our souls start speaking.”