I have loved words and written in one form or another most of my life. What felt like a small, isolated world became rich and full of grand adventures on the page.
My early experiences were in making up stories for the lives of my dolls and the make-believe places that they lived. I would take inspiration from the books I read and create an entirely new story.
Somehow, putting those words down on paper made them feel more real.
I was in Junior High when my English teacher asked if I wanted to write a short article for our school newspaper. Even though I was writing in my diary almost daily, it never occurred to me to write something that someone else would read. The thought terrified me.
With a lot of help and encouragement I wrote about some of the civil rights events that were going on at the time. What I realized was that writing it down and sharing it helped me release some of the anxiety I was feeling.
Over the years I continued to write – diaries, journals, short stories and even the beginning of what I thought might turn into a book someday. I didn’t want to share any of that, those were my deepest thoughts and feelings.
Writing gave me the confidence to express my true self without worrying about criticism or praise. I was able to let my feelings flow from the pen to the paper and it always felt like a relief to let it out.
Over time, I found that writing had become my pleasure as well as my personal therapy. Everything I was feeling – happy or sad, went on the page. Sometimes it was just a scribbled note while I was sitting at the doctor’s office. Anything to just get it out of my head.
Do it for yourself
As I began to share some of my writing with my family and friends, I received a mixed response. Some offered support and others were very critical. Neither felt satisfying. Going through that made me think about why I was really doing this. Did I want acceptance and acknowledgement or did I just want the outlet?
Like anything else, I needed to try some things on to see what felt right. For me, writing was a very personal expression and I learned that if I would just do what made me happy, that was all I needed.
I didn’t want to write for a living, or be a famous novelist – I just wanted to write whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.
Ten years ago, my daughter suggested that I start a blog. It sounded interesting but I had a lot of apprehension about sharing anything publicly on the internet.
I was such a private person that I wasn’t even using social media yet. After giving it some thought, I decided to dip my toes in to see what it felt like.
Blogger offered a free, easy way to get started, so I decided to give it a try. If I didn’t like it, I could just stop and take the blog down.
At first, I published very short, generic thoughts and comments. I had always written long-hand so I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this new electronic format.
I liked that I could see what posts people were reading and where they were from. It fascinated me that I could connect with people all over the world through my simple blog.
As I became more comfortable with this new medium, I explored some of the avenues that were available. I could write reviews of products and services, articles for magazines, even eBooks if I wanted to. The internet provided so many resources, the options were endless.
Then I saw a post asking for guest bloggers with Sixty and Me. I wondered if this was something I could do. It was an opportunity for me to write about issues that mattered to me and share it with a community of people my own age.
I appreciated the different topics and viewpoints on the website and decided this was something I wanted to do. That was 6 years ago and it has been such a wonderful experience.
What was important to me was to continue to stay true to myself. I found my voice in the world and now it’s all about enjoying the journey.