What I Know About Writing

Sarah from That Space In Between runs a fortnightly What I know series. This week was writing.

I didn’t contribute because I feel I know bugger all.

But once I had space to think, I remembered that a long time ago, writing was my first love.

At primary school my second grade teacher, Mr Holmes, a rotund man with hair growing from ALL the places it was possible to, used to hand out empty A5 booklets and ask us to write stories.

The class would sigh. Most of my classmates struggled to finish half the book. I filled one and sometimes two. Merrily churning out 8-year-old interpretations of love stories (The Silver Ring was a highlight) or Enid Blyton style adventures, I fancied myself as the new Noel Streatfield (Ballet Shoes was a fave at this time).

During holidays I would create a ‘Holiday Diary’. A record of our activities, my thoughts, glued in postcards and train tickets, would be proudly presented to my new teacher on the first day of school.

Yes, I was THAT child. The class obviously thought I was weird, and the teacher probably took one look at my tale of a rainy caravan holiday in Wales and binned it.

As I got older I’d write letters to friends, even boyfriends, or more honestly, boys who were friends but who I secretly adored. Pages and pages of teenage angst and ramblings. Fuelled by The Cure and The Smiths…Heaven Knows I was Miserable then!

Once I started my Saturday job I could finance my stationery addition. Fountain pens were a particular fetish. Tears were often shed when I dropped one, nib down, on the floor, at once becoming impossible to use.

I experimented with different coloured inks. Green was a favourite for a while, until someone told me that using green ink was a sign of madness (HA!), so I settled on blue-black.

I loved writing in ink, again, classmates thought I was odd, but I didn’t care. I think I was heavily influenced by my step-dad, who had a passion for calligraphy. I would watch in wonder as his handwriting scratched across the paper in a beautiful Elizabethan way.

Fast forward to uni and my love of writing (and reading) fell away. Reading books I HAD to read and writing essay after essay by hand saw my enthusiasm dwindle. (No macbook airs to make life easier).

The last few years writing has been limited to cards, homework, and to do lists.

Since I started blogging the lost love has returned. What started as an exercise in improving my mental health has become much more.

I feel like I’ve found something I didn’t know I had lost, but missed.

If a day goes by without me writing my thoughts down (and yes, often my posts are handwritten in the sparkly notebook BW bought me for my birthday), I feel strange. At my grumpiest, writing has become a release.

It’s tentative, it’s nerve-wracking.

But I wonder if the story-telling 8-year-old is still there?

I’d love to hear what you know about writing.