Summer Writing and Realizations

I feel guilty because I haven’t done much writing this summer (or, err, well, in a while, shall we say). Between finishing and graduating from my M.A. program, moving, finding a job, getting ready to move again, and trying to relax a little, I have not been keeping up with my writing. I have, however, still done some writing and with the summer slowly coming to a close, I figured I would share some of it. So here is my summer realization (one of many):

I realized that I do not regret being single.

I made a list of names of the guys I’ve dated. Then I made a list of names of the guys I’ve been in relationships with. I looked t the lists, and I asked myself, “Is there a name on either list that I regret no longer having in my life? Someone I would be willing to give another shot to?”

The answer to both questions was a firm “No.”

The answer resulted from examining each name, recalling the individual, and assessing how things ended with them. One propositioned me in Boston Common for a friends with benefits relationship and upon rejection of said proposition, promptly left me to walk through the Common to the Park Street Station by myself – at night (this was before Pokemon Go came on the scene and groups of people trying to catch Pokemon made the Common slightly more safe). Another informed me that anything we started would have an “expiration date” of September when my graduate program resumed.

Then there was the one who texted me five months after our first date to ask me out again. He didn’t explain the time lapse or why he would not return texts I sent him, attempting to maintain communication. I tried to give him another chance. I told him I’d be open to some of the dates he asked me on, only to realize those dates would entail me making most of the effort and travel. I declined said dates, citing inconvenient commutes. The more accurate truth was that I was inconvenienced by his insistence on his convenience. Despite telling me that he was looking for something that lasts, I began to see that a relationship with him would only last if I were willing to accommodate him without room for me.

I realized that I was fine with not hearing from him again, that I would instead be perfectly content by myself. It was the summer, and I was single. I had my books, the beach, and my best friends if I needed company. No boys needed.


The Confession of a So-Called Writer

I believe in the act of personal confession.  Confession helps to ease the burdens we carry by sharing that which we try to hide from others.  Our failures, our shortcomings, our embarrassments.  Confession is admission of being human.

I am in the process of calculating out the final grades for my students.  My students who I told on the first day of classes that the goal of the course is to make them better writers, a goal they have all reached.  Reflecting, I suppose I too have reached that goal and continue to reach that goal.  See, after a semester of reading first year writing students’ work, I’ve come to appreciate my own writing.  I still am insecure about calling myself a writer or even talking about writing, but after reading students’ writing and seeing them look to me as an authority on the subject and in turn seeing the advice and suggestions I give them be used and actually improve their writing, I’ve grown more comfortable in my role as a writer.

Which leads me to confession.  So, here it is: the confession of a so-called writer:

– I unpublished the books I self-published/e-published on Amazon Kindle and Nook stores.  This was mostly due to me realizing that my life circumstances drastically changed from when I first published them, changed in a way that has caused me to admit that I can’t spend enough time on them/building their series.

– I suck at Twitter.  My tweeting could be best described as croaking because that’s how bad it is.

– I never finished my 365 reasons to be thankful under Project Thankful.  I made it to Reason #231, but then stopped.  It kind of just fell by the wayside.  Although I didn’t reach my initial goal of 365 reasons, the process DID make me more thankful for what I have and for the things around me, so I’d still say it was a productive project.

– Going along with that last point, I also used to have a Confessions of a Writer posting series, but that too did not pan out.

– Okay, I tend to start things and let them fall by the wayside/not finish them/not post enough with them.  And that’s OKAY.  Writing is a process, and part of my process is trying things out that may or may not work.  I need to try out a bunch of things to see if anything sticks or even to advance.

– I fully accept that I may never be on The New York Times Bestseller List or have my work published and be put in bookstores. I accept this and move on.

– I’ve also accepted this blog’s randomness.  Hey, it says at the top that the focus of the blog is writing.  I purposely kept the focus somewhat ambiguous because I have a lot of thoughts going through my mind at any given time of day/when the mood moves me to blog.

– Lastly, I’ve accepted that I could be considered “simple” by some.  I like the Muppets and Peanuts and Disney and dark chocolate is my favorite food.  I have a nice persona and can come off as goofy and silly in situations and to people I probably should try to come off as more serious to, but if I try to be more serious, I feel like I come off sounding pretentious and I’d rather be thought of as goofy than pretentious.

So, there you have it.  That’s my confession.  For now.

Who Do We Write For? (Project Thankful: Reason #231)

A question recently came up in class: who do we write for?  Do we start off writing for ourselves, without an audience in mind?  Or, do we start off with an audience in mind?

I’m studying Composition Theory as part of one of my classes to help me with the duties of being a Teaching Assistant (TA); namely, approaching student writing and talking about the writing process with students.  One of the readings the teacher assigned us was Peter Elbow’s piece, “Closing My Eyes as I Speak” where he talks about “writer-based prose” versus “reader-based prose” in regards to audience.  The teacher opened up the discussion to the class, asking us about our own writing processes and if we write with or without an audience in mind.

One student raised their hand, saying “I do have to write with an audience in mind because that raises the bar for my writing.”

Another student raised their hand: “I’m the total opposite.  I write as discovery, not having an audience in mind.  My writing is my discovery process, it’s for me and it’s for me to share with others.”

The first student responded, “Yeah, but if you’re just writing for yourself, isn’t that just like masturbation?” *Uncomfortable laughter from class* “No, I mean, you’re just writing for your own pleasure, not necessarily for anyone else.”

For me with this blog, my writing has taken on a transformative quality since the inception of this blog.  At first, I was writing for others, trying to draw people’s attention to my writing at the time.  Yet, my writing itself changed as my identity as a writer changed as well as the genre of writing I am interested in.  Today, I view this blog as a blog of self-discovery, an archive of the changes that have taken place along the way.

So, who do we write for?  Do we write for ourselves, as some form of discovery process, or do we write for others?  And how does that impact the quality and content of our writing?




Another Anniversary – Project Thankful: Reason #211

Yesterday, I posted about how it was this blog’s anniversary.  I was notified that two years ago today, I created my Twitter account.  

Two years.  I’m officially a social media toddler.

That’s actually an accurate description.  I’m still in the nascent stages of blogging and tweeting and just trying to get my work out there.  I look at it this way: I’m farther along than I was two years ago; two years from now, I hope to be farther along than I am today.

Happy Anniversary – Project Thankful: Reason #207

Apparently today is my Blogging Anniversary.  Two years ago today, I started this blog.  I remember thinking, “I have no idea what I’m going to blog about,” something I admit I still struggle with from time-to-time.  When I first began blogging, I didn’t really know how blogging worked.  What do bloggers write about?  Do I keep a narrow focus, or do I have a more generalized blog?  I knew I wanted this blog to be a way to talk about my writing, but I didn’t even know how I would do that.  

Here’s what I’ve found: blogging can be whatever you want it to be.

That’s why I kept the tagline for this blog simple: Spotlight: Writing.  Spotlight: Writing pretty much sums up what this blog is about.  It’s about writing.  Writing as in books, blogging, inspiration, and so much more.  

Project Thankful: Reason #206

Have a great weekend!

I’ve decided I’m taking the weekend off from blogging.  It’s going to be a beautiful, sunny weekend that is not going to be too hot.  The type of weekend meant to enjoyed doing any number of activities, none of which include being glued to the computer.

I think our culture emphasizes constantly being “connected” as in continually being online or technologically available via social media, text, even phone calls.  This weekend I will be connected, just not necessarily on social media.