Generally speaking, I love to write. I enjoy writing better than I enjoy speaking. When I was in high school, I maintained over fifty penpals through regular U.S. postal mail. I dare say that my own children wouldn't know what a penpal is in this day of online social networking sites and cell phones, etc.
Besides assigned schoolwork, I remember filling whole notebooks with made up stories when I was a young girl. I dreamed of being a children's author on the same caliber as Judy Bloom or Beverly Cleary. My sisters probably got some good laughs (and still do if they read any of that old stuff of mine) from what I wrote at the age of ten or twelve.
I remember relentless teasing from my sisters about a phrase in one story I had written about a boy who had no arms, because he "footed the remote control to his sister." I wanted him to pass it to her, but wanted to remind the readers that he was lacking arms and therefore could not hand it to her. I did not realize it would receive endless giggles from little girls. But I've long since forgotten any hard feelings I may have harbored about their sisterly criticisms and look back now with a better sense of humor about myself.
If I wasn't writing children's stories, I was writing plays for my sisters and I to perform (complete with dance routines!) and sometimes friends of ours would get in on the action. In the summers, I was hired as a babysitter and I would use my writing skills and administrative gifts to organize a newspaper project with the set of siblings I watched. We would each tackle a couple different columns or a comic strip and then we'd paste it all together on a big sheet of newsprint to present to their parents when they returned from work.
Clearly, I'm dating myself. This was before the days of two or more computers per home and editing software and digital cameras. It was well before the days of blogs. Back then, no one had even heard the term "blog."
I never was a very good journaler though. I would start a journal every year and about three pages in, I'd get bored and go back to writing fiction.
Something happened though with readily available technology and a husband who understands it well enough to teach someone like me (who often professed I'd never, ever use a computer), and perhaps once the kids came along and I had someone more to write about or for whom to write. I began journaling stories and memories to save for them to read in a private blog, read only by a handful of family members, mostly. I was still so nervous to have anyone read my writing.
As much as I enjoy writing, I have not professed to be any good at it. I can get by based solely on having practiced so much, but I never realized how unskilled I am in the subject until I had to begin teaching my own children to write assignments in homeschool. I can do it well enough, but it is nearly impossible for me to teach it; especially with the patience required to help our kids not only excel at it, but to enjoy it.
My way of teaching the kids to write included far too much talking (or yelling) and far too little encouragement. Maybe that's why it's so hard for me to go forth with a public blog.
My sister (who is one of my favorite creative people on all the earth and runs her own wonderful blog that I highly recommend you visit, if you enjoy clever writing, gorgeous photography, delicious recipes and other fun quips about life), has been encouraging me to start a public blog for some time.
I had many excuses about wanting to keep a low online profile (I don't do Facebook) and wanting to protect the identities of our children considering their complicated backgrounds and she had suggestions to help me do these things and still go public. When it came down to it, I was afraid. I'm afraid to write things that other people will read for fear of boring you! And maybe, in three posts, I've already done that! Ha.
But like the sense of humor I had to develop about my childhood writing, I decided to keep things in perspective. Certainly, there are far better blogs out here in webland and if that's true, then this can't possibly be the worst. If I'm mediocre at best, I'm okay with that. The Lord's going to use this blog and my medium-speed typing to reach those He wants reached. That's what matters. I'm putting myself out here because I know better than to retreat in fear.
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." - 2 Timothy 1:7 NLT
And in the end, if this experience makes me a better writer, I'm okay with that, too. It's all just practice anyway.