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On Hating Writing

Young woman portrait with closed eyes holding red Heart. Love symbol.I hated writing when I was a kid. And a teen. And a twenty-something. If anyone had asked me back then, I’d have sworn I’d never become a writer. I would have scoffed at the very idea.

Not something you expect a professional writer to say, right? It’s funny, I know. Even funnier? I became a professional writer even while I still hated writing. (It was totally by accident and I wasn’t even fully aware I’d become a writer…it kinda snuck up on me. But that’s a story for another day.)

Why did I loathe it to the very depth of my soul? Because I’d never actually learned how to write when I was in school. Oh, I had plenty of writing assignments, like all school kids have. And I completed them. But I never felt like I knew what I was doing. I was simply told “write a report/research paper/essay on _____.” I was told to research, take notes, and outline. I made sure to use plenty of SAT words, and I was positive I was the worst writer in the world.

I hate doing things poorly. My perfectionist self can’t stand it.

That all changed when I was 26 and took a class called “Personal Writing” as a part of a master’s program I was entering. In this class we were supposed to tell our own stories, something we knew everything about. I was the expert, I knew all the details because I had been there and seen/tasted/smelled/felt/heard it all. I cared about what I was writing for the first time in my life (I mean, beyond what grade I was going to get). It was incredible.

In learning how to tell my own stories, adding enough sensory details to place the reader in my shoes, I finally learned to write.*

And to love it. (In fact, I’m downright passionate about my writing process, especially editing. )

I never would have expected I’d be a writer EVER in my life, and yet…here I am.

This is all to say that you just never know. Hating something today doesn’t mean you’ll still hate it tomorrow. And that sometimes you end up doing the very thing you swore you’d never do. (And, inexplicably, loving it.)

<3,
jen

 

*For those of you interested, the book we used in class was Writing To Be Read by Ken Macrorie, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. It’s life-changing. Each chapter involves some aspect of the craft of story-telling, with examples and exercises to try it out yourself. (I just looked it up…it’s crazy expensive new on Amazon, so I’d pick up a used copy. You can even get one from my favorite used bookstore here.)

 

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