writing recess

I get asked pretty frequently why I write. And if I think I’m any good at it. And if I’ve always liked it. I also get a lot of questions about whether I get paid to blog, and if I’m going to write a book one day. Those last two are my favorites, because they allow me fleeting lapses of a dream life where I would make millions of dollars just sitting on my couch in sweatpants, penning away my thoughts about something absurd. I always look like Salma Hayek in these daydreams.

Sometimes I answer these questions the appropriate way – the way a guest on the Oprah show would reply. Lots of flowery adjectives, emphatic head nodding and just the right amount of eye contact.

But – because I’m me – and not a guest of Ms. Winfrey, my response is more often an awkward pause, some mumbling about having a journalism degree and the stink-eye. In the interest of full disclosure – I have a VERY intense stink-eye I began mastering in fifth grade.

I guess these questions are kind of silly to me. And since I think in analogies 97-percent of the time, I will explain my answers by comparing writing to one of my dogs’ favorite activities.

I don’t presume my dogs chew bones because they are particularly good at it, and I seriously doubt they’re raking in any cash for gnawing on over-processed cowhide. Yet the very thought of the act, the hint that it is even a possibility, is enough to make them go apeshit with excitement. The prospect of doing something that they love so entirely is enough to make them wag their tails and run around in circles – forgetting anything bad that has ever happened to them. They can survive without it, but losing it would mean giving up on something that defines their existence.

That last part’s a little dramatic, I know, but at least you’re still reading. You’re almost to the end, hang on.

The point is, I write because I LOVE to. I love to express myself and share my thoughts with others. I love to process new ideas and explore feelings. And the best way for me to do all of these things is with pen and paper a keyboard. I think it’s the same release anyone feels when engaging in something that ignites a passion – whether it’s dancing, surfing or basket weaving, everyone has a thing. Mine just happens to have little-to-no appeal to the average person with free time.

I’m incredibly fortunate to work in a job that involves writing all the time. It helps me improve and challenges me in new ways all the time. But sometimes I don’t want to think about AP style or the proper placement of an apostrophe. Those are incredibly important things – that drive me absolutely crazy when neglected – but sometimes I don’t want it to be about that. I just want it to be fun. A cupcake not a souffle.

Hence, this blog. It’s my writing recess.

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