On Writing

I’ve been tagged again! This time I can thank Susan for a writing meme that requires me to list five strengths I have as a writer. Since I’m so behind on my blogging to do list, I’m going to tackle this one right away…an and-the-last-shall-be-first sort of thing.

I am only just getting used to this odd notion that I might be considered a writer. I’ve always thought of myself as a reader – and certainly a talker – but this writer thing is new. When Matt and I started writing Baxtergarten in 2005, it was read by about 8 people and I didn’t even know enough to turn on comment moderation properly.

Still, I had been writing in my profession for years, and was (and still am) known as the therapist who wrote extremely long assessment reports and detailed therapy notes about each session. I try to explain to piqued colleagues that I do so because writing is the means by which I process and explain my work. We all do that in our own way.

Before long, I realized that the same phenomenon was taking place, but this time I was processing my own life rather than my work – and hearing my very own voice through the incredibly distracting din of parenthood and work – when I wrote on our blog.

Two years later, I am writing regularly and loving it. I have been shocked pleasantly surprised by crazy kind people suggesting I combine some of my posts into essays for a book, and I suppose someday if I can wade through the muck here and find a common thread, I might. But writing’s never been an ambition of mine. So many of you are what I think of as “real” writers – teaching writing or working on novels; I am a therapist first and a writer second. Maybe even third or fourth, really. All this is to say that I am sincerely flattered that you all read what I have to say, and that Susan tagged me for this; so I’m going to shut up, try to think of myself as a writer, and just answer the damn question.

1. Speed. I write fast. I formulate my thoughts, compose sentences, and even type rapidly. People who have never seen me type before actually stop and stare. What can I say? I’m a little intense. My writing is certainly more polished if I spend more time on a piece, but I am able to write something that I’m comfortable posting on another site in short order.

2. I know how to construct a sentence. I didn’t understand the value of that until I read undergrad papers as a TA in grad school. Just like my son, I have been reading good literature since I taught myself to read at age 4, and I was blessed with a couple of excellent English and writing teachers in high school. Add to that four years at a good liberal arts college and I emerged able to write a decent essay.

3. My own voice. I am comfortable with putting myself out there. Believe me, I don’t write about everything in my life – after all, this blog is not anonymous and everyone from my neighbors to my grandparents read it – but what you get is honest.

4. Variety. You get a little of everything here. Or perhaps a lot about parenting and a smattering of everything else. My writing represents every facet of my life and I try to keep it interesting so that I’m not harping on the same themes again and again. I like to think of it as “juggling out loud”.

5. Humor. I hadn’t planned to add that, but Matt listed it as one of the strengths he sees in my writing and I can’t think of another #5. So, okay, when I’m not filled with angst over lack of caffeine I enjoy sharing my special brand of humor with you all. Mainly, I crack myself up and when I take one of you along for the ride with me, all the better.

Brevity is not on my list for a reason.

I tag Matt and Christopher who are rumored to be working on a novel together when they aren’t instant messaging each other at their desks all day, and Anne Glamore at My Tiny Kingdom, a thoughtful and humorous blog that makes me feel like I’m looking into life in the future with my boys.


3 responses to “On Writing

  1. Matt is right about the humor. And you take more than one of us along for the ride. 🙂

    I’m right there with you on the brevity…or lack thereof!

  2. So enjoyed the “insight” on you. Your humor is that “laugh along with me, even when I’m laughing at myself” contagious humor; which I enjoy so much. Wherever writing is on your list; please stick with it(and the caffeine!)

  3. Interesting meme. I hadn’t seen this one before.

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