It took me years to finally decide to start writing again. I had taken a 30 year sabbatical since leaving university to raise 9 children and I just couldn't seem to start. Perhaps I could have started seven years ago when everyone was in school full time but realistically there was simply to much physical work involved in running a household for eleven people and helping with the farm animals and our large vegetable garden.
Instead of writing, I told stories. The Irish side rose to the surface as I entertained family and friends with the latest exploits of my kids and the farm. Their escapades really were legendary because some situations can only occur with the combination of 9 kids and a hobby farm. I told the hilariously true stories of our family in true Irish form, with wry wit and dramatic flourishes. As an oral story teller, I discovered that the tales rose up from deep within me because I had assimilated them and made them my own. In fact, my creations were the products of my right brain; they were imaginative, intuitive and alive. I did not know ahead of time exactly what I would say. I did not memorize a script with my logical left brain. No, the very act of speaking words aloud was part of the creative process. The stories were alive, full of joy and humour and that spirit was infectious.
For years, my children badgered me, “When are you going to start putting our stories down on paper?”
Acquaintances tentatively suggested, “I really think you should start writing.”
Strangers at conferences challenged me, ”You are very articulate, you can think on your feet, have you ever considered writing?”
Once four people approached me and said, “You are a natural. You are called to write. What is holding you back?
However, whenever I closeted myself in a room to sit down and write, I froze. I considered writing to be a solitary craft but looking at a blank screen or talking into thin air was a sterile exercise in futility for me. I could not translate the same creative energy that I experienced telling a story verbally to the keyboard. My intuitive, imaginative side stayed buried and my logical intellect wrote boring drivel.
Somehow I heard about the existence of blogs, blogging sites and blogging directories and I snapped to attention. Suddenly, I was thinking up a username, a title for a blog, looking at templates and design and layout. All these activities loosened up my creativity while I sat typing
It was like an invisible barrier slowly melted, allowing my imagination to bubble up in a stream of written words that felt just as exhilarating as my oral tradition. I was excited to start sharing written stories with other people, people who would read them, respond, comment and give me feed back on what I had written. Within weeks, I was no longer an island but part of a community of other writers who had the very same insecurities and problems as I did.
At first I felt like I had just stepped off a spaceship into an alien world, I did not know how to do anything. Reading directions on line was useless, I couldn't understand half the words they used, never mind how to follow their directions. I still struggle with uploading, downloading, back linking….Why just right now I managed to delete this article twice, that’s right twice before the article was even finished. Still as I write, there is no save button or draft button. I have no idea why not, either! Worse comes to worse, I will leave to identical sites open on my toolbar in case one gets deleted a third time!
Early on I read that bloggers, on the whole, are supportive and unselfishly helpful, rejoicing in each others success and offering free guidance . Well, I discovered that this statement is true. So if you are tentatively wondering if you will fit in, fear not. If a 57 year-old, computer illiterate, web dummy and green writer can learn while having loads of fun, you can too. Trust me.