The Long, Rough Road

It has been thirty days since I pledged to write a blog post every day in June. Full disclosure: I did NOT write thirty blog posts. If you count this one, I completed twenty-one. What I did, though, is learn a few things about myself through this process, so here is my list.

1. It is much easier to grade writing than to actually write.

2. I need to write in order to improve my writing.

3. Mornings are the best time. If I wait until the afternoon, it is most likely a bust.

4. I can spend copious amounts of time just staring at a blank screen.

5. My heart must be invested in what I am writing.

6. I need a purpose. I just can’t pull random topics out of my numb, dazed, barren mind.

7. To quote some of my former students, “Writing is hard.”

8. I am a big fan of the dictionary and thesaurus.

9. I need a routine.

10. I have more excuses than my students. “I’m sick.” “I’m tired.” “It’s the weekend.” “I’ve got nothing.” “I suck."

11. I am a beginner, but I will learn. I have a long, rough road to travel.

When I began this journey at the beginning of June, my husband asked me why I was taking this on right after school ended. Didn’t I need a break? Shouldn’t I rest my mind and then dive into all of this in the fall? I knew I must begin at once. I wanted to see if I could really do this thing called writing. Often the words are in my head; however, they have a difficult time reaching the keyboard. I come up with these perfectly eloquent phrases when I am walking or driving, but when I sit down to compose I can’t put two decent words together.

So, where do I go now? What is my purpose here? I am full of doubts on whether I can do this. All I do know is I want to continue on my trek. If June was the initiation, then July will be the development of certain skills and routines. First, I am not going to attempt a blog post every day. Two times a week sounds like a more realistic goal. Second, I will write every morning during the week, but I don’t need to publish everything I write. The general public should not be subjected to my daily drivel. If I write something remarkable, it might see the light of my blog. Weekends and vacations will be for other things. I might even find inspiration along the way. Third, I will continue to read, read, read. Through reading, I will discover what and how real authors write. Finally, I am going to take some type of online creative writing course. I realize now it is my turn to be the student.

I just finished reading Cheryl Strayed’s Wild. I was first intrigued by the story of this young, damaged woman who took on the Pacific Crest Trail. After the death of her mother, Cheryl found herself lost and obliterated, an orphan without roots. Her arduous hike through California and Oregon helped heal her broken heart and body. As I was reading, I kept wondering if I could attempt such a feat. I then realized I don’t have to scale actual mountains on my hike. The words on the page are the trail. I will not be afraid of snakes, bears, and aching feet. I just have to keep walking to find my story.

“Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. “ ~ Cheryl Strayed, Wild