Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Why do you Write?

I'm pretty novice when it comes to the art of writing a blog post for others to read. My thoughts rarely string together to form coherent sentences that are pleasing to the figurative ear, and I struggle to stay on one topic for more than a few awkward phrases. My posts are overstuffed with metaphors, painstakingly waver between colloquial and formal writing, and are about as interesting as... well... something that really isn't interesting. Frankly, most of my attempts at the next great masterpiece of the English language generally result in such a mash-up. Why, then, do I continue? Why do I pound relentlessly at the black keys on my keyboard?

That, my friends, is a very good question.

The answer, however, has to come in a rather roundabout way.

On September 6th, 2011, my first day of 8th grade, I began keeping a daily journal. Every night, before I go to sleep, I write. I lean up against my Dumbledore's Army poster on the wall and brace my feet against the opposite site of my bed, resting the fourth small red book on top of my knees. On Sunday, I reached the 250th entry. I plan to continue until I reach at least entry #366, which should occur on September 5, 2012, if my math is correct. 

Once an entry is written, it just gets buried under more pages screaming with my thoughts. Once a journal is filled up, these pages get pressed together, the elastic band slips around them, and I re-cap the pen for one final time. Then, I climb down from my five-foot-tall loft bed, cross the room, and place the little book next to the others on my bookshelf, ready to start another one the following day.

Why do I bother with this?

When I write, I write for myself. Journaling every night, no matter how frustrating it can be when I have to stay up until 2 in the morning to finish homework, is a way of me channeling my thoughts. I used to always be kept awake at night by the thoughts chasing each other around in my head. Now that I think about it, the last time that really happened was several months ago, and even that was a rare instance. 

Almost every form of writing helps me reach myself, if that makes any sense. Sometimes I as a person make more sense if I'm an outsider, looking in--an outsider who knows everything about me, that is. Even writing that doesn't involve me directly--say, one of my two NaNoWriMo novels--helps me in this way. I often identify accidental traits in my characters that come from me. Often, these traits are flaws or things that maybe aren't so good. By writing their stories, I discover how Cori or Iris solve their problems, and, through that, I discover how I can be a more pleasant person for my friends to be around. 

One of the things that most outsiders don't understand about writing is that it is about milestones. I keep track of my journal entries to have some sort of reward for my endless determination. NaNoWriMo sets the winning word goal at 50,000 to give us something to strive for, because motivation is based on having an attainable goal. 

Of course, many writers' sense of "attainable" is more than slightly distorted, but that's what makes us such a determined bunch. When we have goals that seem easy, such as finishing a math assignment, we tend to forget that we actually have to work to get those done, and procrastinate more than any other group of people I know. 

So, why do I write? I write to teach myself that I CAN do it. I write to get in touch with what is important to me. I write to make myself a better person. I write for me.


And so ends my first blog post for the Teens Can Write, Too! blog chain.

Please tell me what you think! I know this blog as a whole is really empty right now, but it won't stay that way for long, I promise. :)


Saturday, May 12, 2012

New Beginnings

Recently, I've been thinking a lot about beginnings and endings, and for good reason, too. In a matter of 20-something days, I will be completing my time in Middle School. Next fall, I'll start High School, delving into a world yet unknown to me. I'll be starting driver's ed, beginning a new year of dance, and turning over a new page in my life. I recently went through and got rid of all my old blog posts, hoping to turn this into something that resembles a more composed, thoughtful collection of writing than my daily journal. There have also been a lot of changes in my personal life, too. I've found new friends and have drifted away from older friends, even outright fighting with people I've been really close to forever, which is always stressful, no matter who you are or how long you've been living life. 

Some people compare life to a book. I find fault with this analogy--our life is more like a river. There is no definite chapter. Things happen all the time around us that we can't understand, we can't control, we can't tell are happening when they did until long after. Most things aren't as simple as black print standing soldier-like on white paper, just waiting in rows to be pursued. The chapters of our lives aren't definite. Sure, I'll be leaving one place and starting at a new one, my daily schedule (which has remained the same for the majority of the last three years) will be completely rewritten, but that doesn't mean I'm starting over. I still have my friends, my passions, and my talents. It's like taking a  piece of candy and rewrapping it in a new skin. It's labeled differently, but it's still the same person. The chapter isn't ending, merely transitioning. And most importantly, you can't flip to the back and find out how it ends until you've lived the whole story through.

These beginnings and endings are normal, typical, expected. They will hopefully not be very difficult for me beyond the usual stress that comes with any transition. It just got me thinking about how you can't control time, just make the most of it. Sometimes, things hurt in life, but you just have to roll with the punches and remember that what doesn't kill you will make you stronger. You have to leap at the opportunities that arise, because good things in life won't be handed to you on a silver platter. And remember: whenever one door closes, two more open.