I am celebrating a few things today. My daughter’s twins are doing well and are at home after being born a week ago. I am in Week 21 of my quest to start a newspaper. And I am writing my 100th blog.
I have been contemplating what I would write for this special blog, a feat that seemed unimaginable when I began writing my blog in July 2010. My advisor suggested that if I wanted to become a good journalist, I should start a blog. “Practice writing; it doesn’t matter what, just write,” he told me.
He also said that blogging and online writing was the direction that journalism was going in and that all journalists need to blog.
Well, I have never done anything just because everyone else is doing it. In fact, I was always one who was a bit reluctant to follow the crowd. But if starting a blog would help me become a better writer, I was willing to try.
I searched back through my 99 blogs and found the first one I ever wrote. “Note to Self” was written on July 26, 2010. I had written this as a personal story but decided to use it as my first blog. I had read a book about celebrities who wrote stories about what they would tell their younger selves if they could. I was inspired by the thought of it and decided to write one of my own.
I found out a lot about myself that I wasn’t aware of.
“…should I tell her that happiness could not be found in another person? Or that she needed to look inside herself to find the answers she was looking for?
Or maybe I would tell her that college really was that important. Should I also tell her that if she decides to skip school and go straight to starting a family it won’t turn out the way she expected? That fairytales don’t really exist? Maybe I would mention that life gets really hard for a while and there are times she may want to throw in the towel, but she shouldn’t give up; she would come through it with a better understanding of how precious life is.
But maybe I won’t tell her those things after all. Maybe I’ll write a letter that tells her how proud I am of her for never giving up. How sorry I am that she had to go through so much pain and heartache, but life does get better. I will tell her that I am glad she never lost sight of her dreams, even though they seemed out of reach. I will tell her that she has made me who I am today; a strong, independent and courageous woman.”
As I write my 100th blog, I realize how important writing is for a writer. It was hard getting into the habit of writing a blog at first, but now I look forward to writing it. Sometimes I only have time to write one blog a week, but I generally try for two. I make up for it by writing articles for the Mount Mercy Times or for my own website, the Hiawatha Advocate.
A colleague of mine asked for advice because she had writer’s block. “It’s so frustrating because I don’t know how to start it,” she said.
I told her, “Just start at the beginning.”
There are times when I, too, stare at the computer screen, hoping that something will pop into my head. I wrack my brain trying to figure out where to start but I’m at a loss. But as soon as I begin typing, anything, the story just seems to come. My journalistic instincts take over and I soon find myself writing the story with no problem. I know there are some things I still need to work on, but I know this is what I was born to do.
Week 21 has me thinking about how much writing has become a part of my life, and by practicing everyday, I have definitely become a better writer.
My advisor was right. If you want to become a good journalist, you have to practice writing. And I have….a lot.