I spend at least an hour every. single. day. sitting at my laptop writing. But many days it’s way more than that. Sometimes I’ll write the whole day and into the night.
For as long as I can remember I have always desired to write a book. I never knew what I would write about, I just knew that I would write it. I wanted a book that I wrote to go down in history, even if it was just my life history. I wanted that book (or many books) to be there at some point in time as a part of my reality. I wanted to be a writer.
Sometimes my desire to write took a backseat to whatever else was going on in my life. But the desire always remained there somewhere and manifested itself in different ways.
When I was really little I used to write a journal that I entitled “Dear Mali”. In it I wrote about my life like any young girls does, talking about mom and dad and my siblings, about my favorite colors and songs and dreams. Mali was a make-believe African girl the same age as me. I used to write what her life was like too. She would reply to my letters talking about my life, telling me about hers. Since I didn’t really know what Africa was like I made up her life purely from my imagination. Her life was a lot harder than mine, but as her make-believe best friend I helped her get through tough times. I kept writing this way for an entire year, filling two hardcover journals and 2 notebooks.
As I got older I stopped journaling for a few years, but picked it up again around the age of 14 when I had my first boyfriend. I remember being so full of emotions and questions and excitement, all of which I felt I couldn’t share with anyone, so I started writing again. The journals from this stage in my life are a bit of an embarrassment for me to read now. Over 200 pages writing about boys and obsessing over all the minute details.
In high school my journals started to develop into something deeper. I started to really question myself and my values, the things I had been taught, and what I wanted to do with my life. I started to write about things like my struggle with religion, about self discovery and how I could be my best self, about my aching desire to travel and get out of that small town, about my lingering pain over my mother leaving home when I was nine, and my own beliefs and ideas about what love really is and if people are even meant to be monogamous.
Following high school, I moved to Kenya for a year and every day filled pages and pages with my thoughts on the world around me. Africa was a mind-blowing, life-changing experience for me and writing helped me to manage all my emotions and confusion and even anger. By the time I came home, I had 3 very thick notebooks filled with notes from my brain.
But something happened following Africa, perhaps it was just life, school, work, and the daily grind, but I stopped writing for a long time. Don’t get me wrong, I did A LOT of writing in university, but no personal writing. Once I graduated, I remember sitting with Oscar one morning, thinking about “what to do” with my life and I told him, “I feel, like I’ve always felt, that I need to write a book. Not just pages in my journal and not just an article in a magazine and not just some ramblings on a blog. I feel like I need to write a book.” But when Oscar asked me about this desire of mine I soon realized I don’t even know what I would write about. At that point I didn’t think I even had anything of value to share that could fill that many pages.
My husband, believing that I was always meant to be a writer since we first started dating, has always encouraged me to pursue a life of words, but self doubt and fear and perhaps laziness and a little lack of commitment have always kept writing as a hobby. He still encourages me to this day. In fact last month he surprised me with this book (image to the left), Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life. I came home to find it delivered to our door.
For about a year in crossing over form 2012 into 2013 I got back into writing very seriously, making most of my money freelance, but like most things in my life…I got bored with it. The writing that paid well was writing I didn’t really want to do. And now for the past year, but mostly in the last six months I’ve been so busy with my new job as Creative Director at Compendium that my writing has taken a backseat again. I still write at least an hour a day, but it’s mostly for this blog or a few freelance gigs that I actually still enjoy.
But I still always think about writing a book. For someone who has spent so much of her life writing, you’d think I’d come up with something substantial at some point. Maybe not. Maybe writing has just been a part of my life as much as it needed to be.
I still don’t know what I would write about, but I want to write a book before I die.