Opening a vein
I have been writing for as long as I can remember. My first journal was a fill-in-the-blank Ramona Quimby diary that I received as a gift on my eighth birthday, but by the time I got it, I already wanted to write. After I filled that journal, I bought another diary, and then another, and then another. I used the little lined diaries with the teeny locks and keys. I used a hardcover journal with a hideous cat picture on it that I probably bought with my allowance at a school fair of some kind. I had a Lisa Frank diary with a puffy plastic cover. In college I had a diary with an artsy fairy drawing on the front. I had a handmade paper blank book. My favorite of all time might've been the small spiral-bound book with a very cool gothy tree on the front that I bought on clearance at Hot Topic. That may have been the one that I started on September 11th, my shock and fear pouring out onto the pages. I filled their pages, one after the other, then started a new one. I wrote almost every night about almost everything - exciting things, banal things, things that seemed so very important at the time but now would probably seem ridiculous. All the diaries are in a box in the attic right now, so I hope there's nothing really awful in them that I've forgotten about. I still have blank books tucked away all over the house even though I no longer keep a longhand journal. Maybe someday I'll go back, maybe not.
Sadly, I've never been great at writing practical things. A college application essay or resume or (dread!) cover letter has always had the power to stump me for days. I used to be really good at writing papers for school, and I'll sometimes open up an old file on my computer and read a paper I wrote in college and be a little surprised that I actually wrote it. And oh, it was easy in those days. I could crank out a five page paper in no time flat and almost always got an A. Whipping up winning term papers is not a skill I use much these days so I've lost the knack for it. The weekly letters I wrote without fail to Danger in college have fallen by the wayside and now that my mother-in-law has started writing me letters, I'm finding I'm a bit rusty at putting pen to paper. Hopefully it'll come back to me, though. Surely years of scribbling in diaries will back me up, here. I sometimes miss writing journals and fiction longhand, filling the neat lined pages with my handwriting - sometimes precise, sometimes careless - of being able to write and write without getting a cramp or writer's block. Typing on the computer is in some ways so much easier and in other ways so much less-than.
I love blogging, I have since the beginning, but occasionally I fret that it's not the same. I once had aspirations of growing up to be a capital-w Writer. My path took another turn, though, and instead I'm a putterer, a navel-gazer, an occasional fiction-venturer, a (so far) faithful monthly-baby-letter-typer. I think it's okay, though. It still counts. I'm still a writer, even if my w is decidedly lower-case.
DISCLOSURE: I was compensated for writing this post, but the words and opinions are my own.