Finding My Voice Back

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Photo thanks to the talented Rachel Florman

I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t written much over the past year or more. Not just on the blog, but also in normal life.

Since I was probably 7 years old and still learning what made a sentence, writing has been part of my daily life and part of my identity. I wanted to write novels more than anything, and I spent a great many hours writing fiction stories, usually about horses, but sometimes about princesses or adventure or boys or all of the above.

I chose journalism in college mostly on a whim, and my writing became more structured. I learned about deadlines, AP style and how to write a functional news article. During and after college, internships helped me hone my skills, but it wasn’t until my first full-time job out of college that the volume of writing I did – including honest and in depth feedback from fantastic editors – started me down the path of a story teller.

Many articles were still a struggle, but in the fast-paced environment of a weekly news magazine, there was no room for angsty pondering. Get it done. Make it good. Polish, primp, publish.

But life as an equine journalist is not for me, as I learned over the course of three years in the industry. I love horses, but working in the industry all day left me disinterested in pursuing it as a hobby. Within months of leaving the industry, I was back in the saddle, hungry for each ride and enjoying every moment at the barn.

But with my departure from journalism came a separation from the writing. A few freelance articles came and went, and life continued. Between the full-time job, the relationship, the other goals and interests, the writing faded to the background. The words weren’t as comfortable pouring out of my fingers. Journaling because an infrequent, at best, coping mechanism for dark days.

Worst was the loss of the fiction. For more than 15 years, my daily life involved characters and plots floating around my head like a delightful background conversation. But they faded over time, until they finally just weren’t there any more. None of them were there, not even old favorites I’d conversed with on and off for years.

I’m not crazy. Read Big Magic, and you’ll know what I’m talking about. I think the ideas, the projects, simply began to recognize that I would not help them be created. They saw that I was not willing to engage.

But then, the funniest thing happened. The other day, I was going about my life, and I was hit with a sledgehammer of a character. And holy crapola did that character jump off my fingers and onto a page faster than I could have imagined. And then came another character, and another. They were all intertwined, and I forced myself to not worry about details like names or descriptions. I just wrote what happened one day when they all started interacting and sparks f;ew and people yelled and laughed and were delightful fictional characters, the type with whom I’d never actually want to be friends because they’re a little over the top and a little out of my league, but they are mine because they came to me demanding to be created, at least a little tiny bit, and I obliged.

So where am I going with this?

All this rambling has a point, but also no point at all. The point is that I’m still finding my voice back. After such a long time I started to not even notice it was missing, and now I’m working on putting figurative pen to figurative paper and see what comes out of my fingertips.

Sometimes, this blog might be about travel. Sometimes, it might be about writing. Sometime, I might even tell you what made me lose my voice, but only if I figure that out first.

Follow along if you like – maybe someday soon I’ll be able to start sharing the other projects I’m working on. Maybe I’ll start showing you the photos I’ve been taking or the maps I’ve been pondering.

But for today, just please believe that I’m trying really, really hard to find my voice back. It’s not perfect – it never was – but it’s also very scratchy after not being used for so long. It’s uncertain and faltering, but it’s my voice, damn it. And I don’t want to lose it again.

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