Day 10 of 84 Days for 84 Ribbons: Why I Write
Have you ever had an itch that needed scratching? No matter what you did to distract yourself, it still itched? That’s how I feel about writing. In fact, that sentiment is inscribed on the cover of my media kit:
“Stories come to me like an itch: they refuse to leave until I promise to scratch around for their meaning and write them down.”
While some people are compelled to run, compete in sporting events or meet the challenge of the New York Times crossword puzzle, I write. I’ve tried not to write but after a couple of days I need to sit down and express stories on paper or on the computer. I guess it’s an obsession really and it arrives in a strange way. Stories arrive with titles, a story arc and a main character. They arrive with a setting, a main problem and with an ending. So is it any wonder I feel compelled to write them down?
Next step: develop a web to record the jumble of random yet important ideas that flood my brain. One web turns into two or three before I begin my research. Now I’m totally hooked in my story and willing to go the distance to write it out, wait for additional characters and events to pop up and see how my initial thoughts morph and grow into a stronger story.
I’ve loved research since community college when Mr. Peterson challenged our American Culture class to exhaust our research skills for a paper on obscure personalities in American history. We drew names of personages and that was all he gave us. We needed to locate them, determine their significance and provide copious footnotes for everything we mentioned (style of furniture, clothing, music, books of the period, historical events, etc.).
I remember walking into the library (olden times, remember) and feeling excited yet worried I’d never locate the name I’d drawn: Dr. William Small. Within a few hours I’d locate him and discovered he influenced Thomas Jefferson when Jefferson attended William and Mary College. By the end of the month I was psyched and had written my report with over 100 footnotes. When I got my grade, an ‘A’, Mr. Peterson mentioned that he’d never heard of William Small. I was so stunned I never asked who expected me to find. It remains a mystery after all these years.
I hope you have an itch that carries you away to enjoyable outcomes. Let me know what attracts you and compels you to take action.