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Writing about My Life

Sunday, June 14, 2020

On the At Goal and Maintaining daily check team thread, our leader, Maree, talked today about writing, particularly writing memoir. It got me thinking about the place of writing in my life and I am sharing here, some of my reflections. If anyone reading this also writes, I’d love to hear your ‘take’ on writing as a personal practice.

When I first had more discretionary time—after our son moved away from early childhood—I wrote quite a bit and went to many writing workshops and classes. I loved writing, what I learned from critiques, and hearing others’ stories.

In workshops the few people I met who tackled full length memoirs were usually writing about or for others—children, husbands, parents. I knew that wasn’t for me. But I’ve enjoyed writing personal essays about particular parts of my life and found it both therapeutic and satisfying. And I’ve found an audience at times in sharing stories with family, friends and even had some small publication success,

I I think about writing like someone might think about using a camera. It helps me see and recapture some things that are important or have been important to me. An author I cannot recall once said writing is like ‘living twice.’ I agree. I have learned to write about things I want or needed to ‘live twice,’ sometimes not knowing when I set out if my subject was important and discovering it was—at least to me personally. And sometimes tossing out what I wrote too!

In the end I’ve written a lot more than I wanted so send out for publication. But for me it is a wonderful practice that makes my life better when I am doing it.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • TORTOISE110
    Bess, your last paragraph gripped me for being such a good summary of journaling and how it goes. THANK YOU!
    252 days ago
  • BESSHAILE
    You know I love to write - and talk and photograph for that matter. I've kept diaries, journals, etc. of probably every January of my life. LOL - and of all the writing practices, blogging has been my favorite. Somehow I can sit down at a keyboard and just let thoughts flow out of my brain, down my arms and through my fingers.

    MOST of my writing has been for me only and for therapeutic purposes. Some of it has been for holding on to something very special. A bit of it has been to vent. I've ripped out pages, burned whole journals, copied out some to send to others. My mother did the same and I treasure all that she kept - and am glad I don't know what she didn't keep.
    252 days ago
  • no profile photo INCH_BY_INCH
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    255 days ago
  • WATERMELLEN
    I'm with JEANKNEE about being photo averse . . . both being in them and even taking them. Love to write and have done quite a bit of writing in various contexts but not about me so much: except in my blogs at Spark People!! So I found this blog and the responses really interesting.
    255 days ago
  • SUNNYBEACHGIRL
    I have always envied people who write and love to write. Having a group that you trust to share. With is a real treasure
    255 days ago
  • QUARTERMASTER3
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    255 days ago
  • TRAILBLAZER6
    👍
    256 days ago
  • TORTOISE110
    Serenasea, I have also destroyed old journals of late, tearing out pages I wanted to keep and destroying the rest. I found so much of it boring, especially the early years, but then again I found gold as well. I like what you did with your friend!! What a treat that must have been.

    I have a writing group where we share stories. We have become close over the years from knowing so much about who we are and who we have been.

    Thank you for your comment!
    256 days ago
  • SERENASEA
    I kept journals for many years, from high school through the first few years of marriage (in my late 20s) -- it preserved memories, helped me work though life situations, let me be the person that I wasn't comfortable sharing with world. Every so often I'd add to them, but less and less as the years passed. In my single years, my best friend at the time and I would each keep a journal on our vacations together as well as our "going out" adventures, then we'd get together once a year over banana daiquiris and a pu pu platter and re-read our own journals, then trade off. Some good memories there. I thought I'd keep all those journals forever and I could visualize myself reading them again, remembering, into my 80s or beyond.

    Those thoughts have changed, however. After clearing out both my and my husband's parents' homes, I vowed that I would read through all my journals one last time, tear out the pages I really wanted to keep, and let go of the rest. Some of what we came across during those clearing-outs -- correspondence that I suspect we were never meant to see -- made me realize that those journals contain thoughts and memories I'm not willing to share with anybody, ever.
    256 days ago
  • TORTOISE110
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Jean. Some people I know fear writing about themselves lest they not write well, or that they will write something personal that someone else may see. I do like examining my own life, especially now with the perspective of age and finding gold (sometimes). As for photos...I am a complete freeze in front of a camera. But aiming at something beautiful with a lens, that I can do and enjoy seeing what real photographers capture for sure
    256 days ago
  • JEANKNEE
    So nice to hear that you're involving yourself in a practice that makes life better for you.

    I'm curious to see what others will have to share in response here.

    I seem to be the opposite: writing averse. I have tried to take up journaling as a practice a number of times and have never been able to sustain it. I realize what you're speaking to is something different than journaling.

    What's interesting to me about my writing aversion is that I also have a photo aversion. I do not like to have photos taken of me either.
    256 days ago
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