Monday, February 3, 2014

The Life of a Writer, five years in...

I have been writing almost every day now for five years, as of yesterday. Ironic, at least for me, that the day that I crossed that threshold was one where I didn't even open up my blog to do anything more than check for comments.

I started this a very long time ago now. I was a different person then. I lived a much different life. I was in a different place. 

I started writing here as a way to discipline myself. At some point in the days leading up to beginning this blogging journey, I had decided to write a book. Shocking, right?

That book, one that has been put aside for now, and one that will likely never be finished. It won't be finished, not because it wasn't worth writing, but because the person I was when I began it no longer exists. She left. She just isn't here anymore. 

That first book was supposed to be about how much my life had been changed, our lives had been changed, by my husband's cancer diagnosis. It truly did change everything, and that story has been woven into others over time, but at this point it's just a small piece of my past, an explanation if you will, for how I got here. Wherever here is.

So, I started blogging to get back in the habit of writing. I vowed to write at least one hour a day. I needed to remember how to do this all again. It had been a few years since I was writing for school. This truly began as a conditioning exercise. Back then, it was messy and boring, my writing. I wrote about the mundane. I wrote about my kids almost all the time, the day to day life of being a mother to four children. It was awful, almost all the time, which makes sense looking back on it now. 

It makes sense because I had forgotten who I was. I was lost. I was stifled. I was dull. 

And there is so much more that makes sense now. 

I wasn't happy, but I didn't know why. I do now. Hindsight has this way of sorting through the past, of forcing us to see what was really going on, never giving us the ability to go back in time and fix any of it. 

Over the years, I improved. My writing became tighter, more fluid. There was less editing, less cringing when I would go back and re-read an older post. I rediscovered the things that I love to write about - politics, the law, ethics, relationships, life. My blog became more and more chaotic, but it made sense because it was more real. It was more me.

I launched other blogs, for recipes, for pregnancy and labor advice, for photography. 

I started other books. Many other books. 

I stopped calling myself a blogger and began referring to myself as a writer, which was a huge step. It didn't happen until one afternoon, just a few weeks before my father died. I overheard him talking about me to someone else, and he was telling them how proud he was of me. Telling them that I was a writer. 

I was a writer. 

He was the first one to call me that. 

A few days later, I had taken him to work and was sitting with him in his office, presumably making him a little bit crazy because I wasn't doing anything. He preferred busy people. I didn't have anywhere else to be just then. He asked if I had written anything yet that day. Told me that I needed to keep doing it, even when it was hard. Then he confessed that he had been reading everything I wrote even though I had been led to believe otherwise.

He's still here, right now, in fact...over there on the margins. He was my 20th follower.

He left this earthly existence almost three years ago now. Since then, I have lost my mother and a dear friend. I have been destroyed by someone I once considered one of my best friends in the world. I have had my entire life turned upside down. 

More than once, I tried to stop writing. It hurt too much. 

I never could stop. 

I needed to write more than ever. The words needed to escape the confines of my head. I started secret blogs to write the things I couldn't make public, I found a way to use humor to cope with the darkest days. I channeled my rage into the weekly rants that have become one of the most popular features here now. 

I started to let people in, the other writers I encountered online. I started to open up to some of them and realized that they understood me more than most people ever could. I found kindred spirits, the others who dream of characters and carry paper with them at all times just in case something needs to be written down right now.

I fell in love with writing when I began to understand the power of these words I write. Readers, fans, friends started to reach out to me. Some wanted to share their stories, some wanted to tell me I made them look at something in a new way, some wanted to tell me I wasn't alone. 


This platform has become so much more than I ever imagined it could be. Five years into this life of a writer, I am. Though I never thought this is where I would end up, I can't imagine being anywhere else.

Thank you all for coming with me on this strange and beautiful journey. 

8 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your fifth year here, Kelly. I found you today and look forward to reading more. Keep writing.

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  2. I finally started calling myself a writer just recently and it was the liberating moment of my life. I completely understand get what you said about that first book. I just recently published two books and neither of them were my "first" book. I think mu first book was merely a therapeutic tool to help me process some things that happened in my life. I don't think I will ever finish it because it has already served its purpose. So, happy I found your blog.

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  3. I am glad I found you here. Great stuff!

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  4. Enjoyed looking thru your face book profile and downloaded some of the funny pictures you posted....read with passion this and the other article on PS Hoffman's death.....yep, you are a writer. And a good one!

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  5. I want to thank you so much for this post! As I live with an addict/bi-polar boyfriend sometimes I struggle to keep in perspective as to what struggles he goes through. Alanon has helped tremendously to get me on a path to being a better person for him and me, but there are alot of days that its hard to stay and watch someone you love fight those demons. I was actually on the verge of calling it quits when I read this but it has brought me back to the reality of the illness he struggles every single day with and that he cant necessarily help it as to even proper medication does not work some days. So thank you Soooooooo much!!! Prayers to all in these situations and for those who choose not to want to understand it.

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