How did you learn to write? Did you start with a diary that had a little padlock, where you would write all your innermost thoughts and experiences? Did you learn in school or when you started your first job? I remember writing a lot as a kid. I did not have the padlocked diary, but I wrote many short stories. I still have some of them. I do not remember what compelled me to start to write. There are also gaps, where I do not have any writing, no journal entries, and no short stories. Looking back to middle and high school there was too much happening in my life, that writing took a back burner. Later, in college, I began writing more, memoir excerpts, journal writing and taking notes of quotes I appreciated or that resonated with me from authors I read.
Recently I posted about “My Ideal Bookshelf.” I have continued to enjoy exploring the pages of this book. To learn what books have changed or shaped the lives of different authors, writers, chefs, etc. Two ideas stood out to me from different individuals. The first is from Michael Chabon:
“But that was how I learned to write, and it’s the approach I recommend to people who want to write. It’s through imitation that painters learn to paint and composers learn to compose. It is an incredibly useful way to figure out how to write like yourself in the long run. And it’s much easier and more pleasurable to imitate a writer whose work you love.”
And this one from writer, Andrew Sean Greer:
“We don’t write in a void. Our storytelling comes from reading, learning, and trying out techniques we love. As Pound says, we ought to have either the decency to acknowledge a theft outright or the cleverness to hide it. Since I can’t hide anything, I guess it’s clear where I stand on that point.”
Both quotes make me think more and more about why I read so much. As I spend hours and hours of my year reading, I learn more about what I like in authors and what I do not like. I learn the different ways an author sets their scene. I learn who inspires and challenges me as an author. Hopefully I will continue to find my own voice and write my story. Whether that be a memoir, a short story, or a novel, I believe there is a story, or many stories in each of us, just waiting to be told. Some of us tell these stories in the form of a book, others through acting, some through marketing or social media. Whatever the avenue we each have a story to tell, we just have to listen for when it is ready to be shared.
Thank you for being part of my journey to tell my story.