I’ve been blogging almost every day for three and a half years.
I’m always hesitant to call it ‘writing’ (though quite clearly it is), and equally reluctant to call myself a ‘writer’. Why? I’m not entirely sure.
It weirds me out just a little every time someone asks me “How long have you been writing? Did you always want to be a writer?” Because the answer is generally, “Ummmm… Since I started blogging. And, no… not really”. And that always feels like a bit of a rip off to the person enquiring, as though they expected a much more passionate answer than that (which they probably did).
The truth is, as a child, I loved to write. I ate books whole, in great greedy gulping bites. I scribbled short stories for fun and school English classes. Somewhere in the back of my wildest ’When I grow up…’ daydreams was the idea of penning novels and screenplays, studying Shakespeare and Jane Eyre.
At some point, the dreams of becoming a writer were archived and filed in musty ’Things that sound good but aren’t bloody likely’ sections of my mind. I believe, if you’re looking, you can find them between the files marked ’actress’ and ’marine biologist’.
I fell into blogging by accident, a digital progression from parenting forums and discussion boards. I assumed, when I began, that I would lose interest in this new hobby within a month or so, my somewhat short attention span claiming victory over the best of my intentions yet again.
Six months later, and blogging had become part of my life – a release, a community, an engaging hobby that I not only enjoyed but seemed to be quite good at. I wrote for fun, for distraction. To have a space where I could feel creative and virtually stretch the neurons of my brain, atrophied by suburban domesticity and the mundanity of raising small children.
I’d been blogging for almost a year when things changed. My husband died, suddenly and traumatically. I found myself initially reaching out, begging the blogging community around me for prayers.
I found myself, in the dark nights that followed his death, with nowhere to go except my computer. My emotional substance was desiccated, sucked dry; I was little but a thrashing, seething surge of guilt and agony. I wrote to vent, to flush the constant, eating pain. I wrote to understand, to process my thoughts and assess my own emotions. I wrote to remember. I wrote to forget. I wrote to vanquish demons that were threatening to swallow me whole.
After months of metaphorical bleeding and quite literal crying over my keyboard, after thousands of words and countless hours of typing… I discovered I was, finally, writing in order to heal.
Writing to make sense of the world around me, still. To remember, still, and to forget. But eventually it began to feel as though writing nourished me, completed me; rather than it being the modern day equivalent of using leeches to suck poisons from the bloodstream.
I write, still, every day. I write about things big and small, important and insignificant. I write for leisure, for money, for change, for joy.
But I’m no longer driven to do it, using words to feed and quench those hungry demons inside me.
For now, when I write… I write just for me.
By Lori Dwyer