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Sunday, November 21, 2010

On Writing

I have been doing quite a lot of writing lately. I've enjoyed writing since I realized I had some talent in that area during middle school, and I worked on my middle school's student newspaper. After a hiatus from writing except as required for school, I worked as the director of communications for a large California humane society for 8 years; in addition to serving as editor, I did much of the writing and photography for that publication. I even got a couple of awards from the Dog Writers' Association of America. I also wrote a column for the local newspaper (unpaid) while in grad school.

I worked in NASA public affairs as a public affairs officer and manager for many years. But that writing was constrained by far too many 'guidelines' and limits to actually serve as a creative outlet. The best part of that job was being able to write for a now-defunct NASA publication, without the usual limits and restrictions. The publication ended its run after just a couple of years for budget reasons. That was a real loss, as many believed that this magazine was the best tool NASA had for reaching out to a general, non-technical audience.

A couple of years ago, I was asked to co-author a book with a therapist who specializes in attachment issues. The subject: My experiences raising an adopted daughter. I have written more than 150 pages so far. I started this blog about a year ago. I have only a dozen 'followers,' but the number is growing slowly and I have readers from more than a dozen countries.

Now, I am feeling called to do more and more writing. I would love to have my writing published somewhere, or at least to have a wider readership. Someone asked me several months ago what I did, and my reply -- "I'm a writer" -- startled me. I thought to myself, "Where did that come from?" I had never up to that point thought of myself as a writer. Yes, I wrote as part of my job, but was I really a writer? I have had articles published in a variety of niche publications, in addition to the newspaper column. But I have never been paid to write.

I enjoy writing when I am inspired to write. I'm not looking for a writing job with deadlines and requirements for articles of a certain number of words. I enjoy writing about whatever appeals to me at the time, using as few or as many words as I think appropriate.

Writing is such a wonderful emotional outlet, and I love manipulating words and sentences until they feel 'just right.' I don't have a lot of creativity, and I don't think I could ever write fiction or poetry. But I absolutely love writing about things that are important to me, things that move me, and experiences I have had.

I don't for a minute believe that what I write about is world-changing, and I don't have the pomposity to think that my writing is on a par with John Steinbeck, Jack London, Tony Hillerman (my favorite author) or other real writers.

Still, people tell me they find my writing uplifting and inspiring. They enjoy reading this blog, and I hope our book, if it ever gets published, will be helpful to others struggling to deal with the emotional baggage of an adopted child.

So until I get 'discovered' as a writer, I will continue putting my words into this blog and hope that maybe someday, when I say "I am a writer," that statement will actually be true. Until then, I hope that my musings will inspire, or at least entertain, my handful of readers.