Wednesday, February 18, 2015

52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge: Why Start this Challenge?

I don’t have much to say about health, fitness and weight loss right now, but I have found that writing about my thoughts and feelings has been really helpful for me, whether I publish what I write or not.

I found this 52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge on Pinterest (writing prompts) and I decided this would give me a good jumping off point to start writing. I will probably just write about the prompts when I feel like it as opposed to one a week, since we are on week 8 anyways!

Writing. I remember first wanting to become a writer in first grade. I loved the enchantment of stories and being able enter into this other world just by reading. And there were times along the way that I thought I wanted to be a doctor or a veterinarian, but by middle school I wanted to be a journalist and by high school I decided to major in English. And I did.

My very first class at a four year institution, after transferring from a community college, was called Personal Essay. I loved this class. I loved the eccentric people in it. They loved writing just as much as I did. I felt very much at home.

There was an older woman in this class, who hardly had the lung capacity to walk to class, but she was taking the class for fun because she wanted something to inspire her to write. She dressed in clothes with wild prints and exotic colors—and just as her clothing, she was bright and cheerful. She was also had an incredible ability to paint with words. I wish I remembered her name. She was already an author and was working on publishing a book about her childhood. She had a grandmotherly kindness. I remember her telling me to just write about anything and everything.

But I struggled in the class, not with my grade or the quality of my writing, but with finding my voice. I was too scared to show what was really in my head, too protective of my heart to put it on the page, too scared of being vulnerable, just too scared. I remember the professor telling me to be authentically myself and I struggled with it.

I learned a lot in this class. I read about the pain and heartbreak, joys, successes and failures of many other people in this class. I was moved by it. I still remember their memoirs almost eight years later.

This art of writing, of expressing the thoughts and emotions that feel so unique to each of us but are often so universally experienced, is absolutely captivating. I love the freedom of it, and I love the outlet I have for it on this blog—even though I often worry about judgment.

Just like when I was too scared in my college writing course to express myself on paper and have my writing critiqued by strangers, we are often too scared to voice or write about what we feel-- even to our loved ones. Why? Vulnerability is hard. I find this especially true about the experience of motherhood. We have to keep up appearances, I suppose.

And so, I am starting this challenge as a means to dive head first into writing for writing’s sake, to keep chasing after that dream of being a writer. I don’t promise to be the most talented writer, have perfect grammar, or even make revisions and numerous drafts to publish a masterpiece (I never do this, but probably should)—but I do promise to pour my heart onto the page.

5 comments:

  1. It's definitely in my mind to be worried before hitting publish because I guess it is in people's nature to judge you on things. But I do love having a blog because I can talk about things and people will let me know they totally understand, even when it is something that I thought surely I was the only one crazy enough to think or feel. :) Speaking of editing, glad I re-read. I just typed, "It is in nature's people to judge." LOL Oh well. I guess it could've went that way, too. I remember once meaning to type crab, thinking I did. I re-read a post days later to see that I wrote crap and felt a bit embarrassed because of a certain someone reading who would think that was very ugly language. Haha

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  2. Sounds like a great challenge! Love the writing prompts. Will see if I can give it a try :)

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  3. Cool challenge. I'm gonna look into it too!

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  4. WooHoo....sounds interesting....can't wait to see what happens along the way.

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  5. I love this idea! I'm actually attempting to use the Project Life App to document this year because we have a major life move happening and I want to see how our year transpires before, during and after it. I like this idea as well, to keep me focused on being grateful throughout this life change as well. Also, a writer...aren't we all to some degree and that's why we blog? lol

    Thanks for sharing!

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