Updated: Jul 11, 2020
Why I love writing: an introvert's writing story from childhood to retiree. Plus writing tips for newbies and a chance to vote on my back cover blurb!
I think I was always meant to be a writer. I’m not speaking specifically about my writing talent…I’ll leave that to you. I just find writing to be so peaceful, freeing, and fulfilling to me. But it didn’t just start in the last year since I retired from my corporate job.
My earliest recollection was the summer of 1977. “…at the age of eleven, my friend Roger and I wrote, typed, and ‘rented out’ the first (and only) edition of the Belle Meade News, our little neighborhood’s goings-on newsletter. Since we didn’t have access to a copier, we only typed one original, thus necessitating us to footnote the Word Search on the Puzzle Page, ‘Please do not write on this page!’ We managed to rent out the Belle Meade News three times (our parents and one very kind neighbor, Mrs. Mills), bringing in 75 cents.” Thus, though my upcoming memoir is certainly my biggest writing project to date, I’ve technically already been published 😊.
Four years later, I became engrossed with three years of writing and editing on my high school newspaper, The Sword & Shield. “It was like my little cave of co-workers within a loud, preppy high school. I liked the writing and excitement of printing a paper every week. I also enjoyed attracting the “oohs” and “aahs” from impressed classmates during my in-class interview with the school quarterback.
“How do you do that,” one remarked.
“What?” I asked.
“Taking notes without looking at your notebook.”
“Oh, it’s nothing,” I blushed.
Their reaction seemed genuine though misdirected given there was no mention of my journalistic skill itself. Nevertheless, I was a sucker for even the smallest degree of recognition.
The summer before my junior year I attended Journalism Camp at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, about an hour from home. This was my one and only sleep away camp as a kid. I’d never been interested in the more traditional summer camps before. Days away from the comforts of home with strangers, doing team building and sports? But I was excited about this camp. It presented a chance to learn more about journalism and writing; to see how this passion might grow. I soaked up some of the tricks of the trade, met other high school journalists from across the South, and published an interview with a Bama assistant football coach in the camp paper. It was exciting, productive, and encouraging.”
When I returned home from camp, my parents and I discussed my college major plans. “I led off by sharing my interest in continuing to write through a journalism degree at Alabama. However, scarred by their own financial struggles, Mom and Dad saw a business degree as a better path to financial security, certainly more so than journalism. Despite the gratification I got from writing with the high school paper and the notoriety it provided a shy, innocuous boy like me, I never fought for my passion in journalism. Perhaps I never even recognized it as a passion at that point. Heck, I was 17. I had no great convictions. And I surely didn’t recognize the significance of the decision, not just for my college years but for my career and my peace of mind along the way. Frankly, I just wanted to drink beer with friends and dream of finally moving to college, away from the house that had become a bit sad and lonely…
My blinding respect for my parents’ authority left me to register as a Business major and countdown my final months at home.”
As the years passed by in my Supply Chain jobs, writing lay in the background. Occasionally I would lean on my old friend, journaling my thoughts during my most challenging times. But I found it hard to shift my mindset from my left-brained work tasks to a more right-brained creative approach. Furthermore, I was typically quite preoccupied with 50 hour plus work weeks and family time. I do applaud those that manage to write extensively while they are working and/or raising a family. That’s true dedication to one’s passion.