Writing on Purpose: The writing process: what is that like for me?
Step by Step
Writing does not come easy for me. I always felt that my English grammar was not good enough because it is not my first language. The first words I ever heard in my home came from a family who immigrated but two years before I was born. We lived in a predominately English neighbourhood but I only really began speaking English in the first grade.
As is evident with many university students, schools in Quebec continue to spend less time teaching English grammar then they do French. I will not get into a political debate here but the point is I never learned the proper conjugation of English verbs, syntax and many other English language rules. I learned through hearing conversations and of course from reading books. This said, writing builds up in my head in a mosaic of words, run on sentences, images seeking words, and strong emotions looking for that gateway to freedom.
I am rather certain that I am an emotional writer. As an adolescent and young adult, break ups were always a rich fertile ground for sprouting words. I used many of my school writing books to scribble these words down as personal computers were not yet available. I always used pencils. Pencils had my favourite tool on the end: the eraser. Although the words sounded good in my head, once they hit the paper they needed major editing.
More recently, a labour strike I experienced along with 1700 other colleagues prompted daily diary entries that I made available to my fellow picketers on social media. After several hours in the cold and rain, I would go home to a hot shower, a hot tea and my laptop where I let it all hang out! The emotions as well as the visual and auditory stimulation during the day were too powerful to keep bottled up. At times, I could not even stop for that hot shower or tea; I needed to write it out of me lest I stop breathing from the weight of the emotions. The moment I posted, many fellow picketers instantly “liked” and commented. The next day many were touched that I was able to put their emotions into words. Although these were my words, the sentiments I described were shared by many of us.
This ritual lasted exactly 3 months during the fall of 2011. We were picketing in two locations. A larger group stayed in the downtown area, bustling with pedestrian traffic, skyscrapers creating the worse wind tunnels, lanes with used syringes and other unmentionables. A smaller group picketed in a much prettier, and shall I say safer location by the lake with regular visits from local fowl. The foliage was still blooming as we were experiencing a very mild September that year and many picketers were in shorts and flip flops. As I lived closer to this location, I chose to picket here.
I prefer to work on a computer so that editing can be done quickly and painlessly. I love the delete button – and perhaps more, the copy, cut and paste! I have several blank journals in which I capture and jot ideas, themes, even a to-do list! Some pages have doodles that later remind me to go back to sketching: yes, another dormant skill I long left behind. Ideas best find their way to me while on my comfy couch surrounded by pillows, and more recently, on my massage table that I use for my Reiki practice! I see why my clients fall asleep so quickly!
Writing for me releases the demons, just like singing used to. The hope is to one day, use all of my creative outlets to find my fearlessness, slay the dragons so I might follow the path to my bliss.
Update June 2017: Writing is finally becoming easier with a nice and steady flow. Singing has been resumed in the form of healing sound therapy in meditation circles! See more....