Writing has always been important to me, but like many people, the busyness of daily life has often distracted me from actually writing. Stephen King, among other authors, says in his book On Writing that you have to put in the work and actually write to be a writer.
To Share Information
I’ve been writing for most of my life. When I was a kid, I used the Encyclopedia Britannica to research anything that interested me and wrote summaries of the information.
It wasn’t the most creative project, but it peaked my interest in writing to share information. My great-grandmother was also quite impressed.
To Tell Stories
My next series of projects were fictional short stories in elementary school. I’ve forgotten most of the titles and topics, except for one – “The Attack of the Invisolutions.” I know it sounds like a 1950’s horror movie, but that’s probably because I was a huge fan of that genre.
The Invisolutions were an invisible race of aliens who came to take over the earth. The details have faded, but I recall being very proud of the nearly 30 page single-spaced handwritten story. Unfortunately, pencil and paper were not the most durable media and the original copy was lost.
Writing fiction led to my interest in telling stories.
To Share Interest
High school did it’s best to crush my desire to write with the endless compare-contrast and analysis papers. I realized quickly that I did not like required writing assignments. The one exception was Mrs. Carey, my 12th-grade English teacher. She was a cranky, grandmother type who appeared to be teaching long after the recommended retirement age.
Mrs. Carey had a very direct way of speaking that matched her sharp wit. She taught me more about writing than any teacher I can remember. Once when asked about the required length of a writing assignment, she answered “whenever you’re writing, it should be like a woman’s skirt . . . long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to keep your interest.”
I still hear those words when I’m working on a project.
Whenever you’re writing, it should be like a woman’s skirt . . . long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to keep your interest
To Reflect on Life
When I was deployed during Operation Desert Storm, I started journaling at least a couple of times per week. Most of the entries were just summaries of the daily events, but it progressed to writing essays and poems. I’m not sure about the quality of the writing back then, but reading them now gives me great insight into the mind of my 22-year-old self.
The topics generally leaned toward philosophy, the meaning of life, and my thoughts about nearly everything. It was pretty heavy stuff, but I’m sure it was influenced by my environment and uncertainty of the future.
I learned to reflect on life and to find my voice.
To Share Ideas
In my professional life, I’ve written for a corporate newsletter, published articles in a trade magazine, and started a few blogs. I still maintain the health & wellness blog that I started in 2008.
One of the great things about blogging is that you share your ideas with literally anyone in the world. You can get feedback and have conversations about the ideas.
These experiences helped me to express my own ideas through writing non-fiction.
My Commitment to Write
As I’ve examined “the important things” in my own life, I’ve decided that writing deserves more attention.
I’ve committed to developing a daily writing habit. I’m keeping my goals realistic and attainable (as recommended by every productivity expert) with a plan to write 500 words per day about anything. I plan to post articles here on Essentialist Dad at least once per week for now.
I hope you’ll enjoy my writing and find the information helpful. Please feel free to comment on any article and maybe we can start some conversations.