During my teen years, the only way I was able to express my thoughts and feelings was through writing. Maybe it was my way of escaping the difficulties I was facing at the time. Or maybe it was my way of sorting through everything as I tried to make sense of it. But back then, my pen and paper were the only things that understood me. At least that´s what I thought.
I wouldn´t consider myself an excellent writer. I do alright for someone who loves to write. In fact I would consider myself an apprentice writer because I´m still learning.
I love the texture of crispy, clean paper between my fingers. I´m never without my pens and pencils, my private treasures which I dote over like a coin collector lovingly dotes over a rare coin collection. I also carry a notebook in my purse wherever I go. A quirky habit I acquired from Harriet the Spy, one of my favorite childhood books.
My bookshelves are overflowing with books. I´ve turned tables and night stands into bookshelves and now they are overflowing too. Honestly, the thought of tossing a book away is like tossing away an old friend. It´s simply unheard of.
I write everyday and I´ll proudly admit, I´ve had a total of two (yes, two) short stories published! That´s not much compared to the vast accomplishments of more seasoned writers but I want to be a better writer. I think there are a lot of other writers out there who feel the same way.
So how do we become better writers? We write, and we write a lot! Of course general knowledge of proper grammar and punctuation are a vital asset to any writer´s repetoire. But the key to becoming better at our craft is to practice, practice.
I recently spoke with a seasoned writer whom I respect very much. He has written more than 20 books along with numerous essays and journals. He said in the beginning, he locked himself inside a room for a month and he wrote. That´s all he did. He wrote. He practiced connecting his thoughts to the speed of his typing and this improved the overall fluency of his words and sentence structure.
He also said, as writers we should hold fast to our own truths and know that our freedom to express them is accompanied by the responsibility to our readers that we can´t ignore.
We might also remember that life is the school of learning. Unfortunately it doesn´t come with a How To Manual. I wish it did. Things would be so much easier. But because it isn´t set up that way, I´m inspired to write about my what I´ve learned and experienced, while hoping somehow, my sincere words will resonate with someone out there.
¨Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.¨