I remember when I had my first article published in my local newspaper. When I first contemplated doing it, I knew personally of two other people who wrote for the same paper. One was a published author who was a sought-after speaker and panelist. The other (at the time), was actually the editor of the paper, but the column included neither her name nor picture, so it was a while before I knew that it was her.
Anyway, I was expecting to use a pseudonym, so when I was asked to provide a picture and a short bio, I realized that I would not be able to hide behind the words. It gave me pause for a minute and then I decided to call some friends and family members the day before the article came out. It was a hit. With them at least – and I hoped so, because I had spent hours agonizing over those 554 words.
What really caused me to try my hand at writing had nothing to do with school. I remember being able to write a decent essay and once I was commended for a poem that I wrote that included that famous quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, about wanting his children to be judged by their characters and not by the colour of their skins.
In almost every group that I’ve been a part of, I’ve had secretarial duties, so I’ve had to pen several letters in my time. I also find that I can better express myself after I’ve had time to ruminate and move the words around on the page.
I’ve felt more comfortable using a letter to tell my sister how things that she has done have made me feel. I’ve written a friend, telling her that certain actions surprised me (and despite being diplomatic, she didn’t take it very well). I’ve also composed my words to nicely inform the head of a group to which I belonged that his actions were inappropriate.
But what really spurred me to write, was a letter that I sent via email to the owner of a children’s party planning outfit. Ever mindful that criticism is not always well received, I began by stating what I was happy about, before detailing the reasons for my discontent. I never got a response, but it’s surprising how that persons’ silence caused me to find my voice.
As the weeks turned into months of writing that column, I saw that many shared my points of view. Some people provided suggestions for topics. And some said that sometimes, the articles caused them to view things in a different light. That’s not what I set out to do, but it’s one of the things that has given me the greatest satisfaction.
And now, I blog.