I used to write constantly.
When I was a teenager, a friend introduced me to a forum online where I could talk to people across the world about…anything. It was wonderful and exhilarating. As a shy, quiet girl who looked years younger than my age it was hard for me to start conversations; but somehow the Internet-me was different. I was smart, funny, silly, and entertaining online. This new persona even seemed to leak out into my non-written conversations, and I would talk on the phone to my new friends for hours on end.
But the best thing about all these new friends? Letters.
I know, I could talk to them for free (and faster!) through email, chat, and phone. But somehow a lot of us wanted more. Letters felt more personal, more intimate. Maybe because they weren’t out there available for any hacker to read, or maybe it was just the way thoughts seem to flow from your mind out through a pen/pencil a little differently than they do through a keyboard. And for some reason, words rushed out of me every time I picked up a pen and paper. Thoughts, dreams, stories from my past, other people’s stories, questions all filled page after page. I learned how many sheets of paper I could mail with one stamp (6) very quickly, and 12-page letters became my default – a way to cut myself off before I rambled on too long.
And one friend, who quickly became my best friend, started to challenge me to write more and more. We competed with huge letters (the longest was 120 pages – 60 ridiculous sheets of paper!), and waited eagerly for the next mini-novel to come through the mail. I’ve always struggled with going to sleep at night, and so instead of lying in bed I would wander the neighborhood and write letters in my head until hours of walking wore me out enough to sleep. Several years of my life – in great detail – are out there in Australia where my friend lives, should I ever care to revisit the past.
I miss that time where my whole life was full of writing whatever was on my mind. School has forced me to alter and suppress my written “voice” for my papers, and constantly edit and alter my writing. While I don’t mind writing in a scholarly manner, I think I also need an outlet so that my voice – and the freedom to use it – is still around.
My plan is to begin regular writing again with this blog: once a week, whatever is on my mind. It’s not letters, but should inspire me to write more of those as well. I know it’ll be hard at first, but well worth it for the mental “boost” writing always gives me.
So what about you? What things do you love but don’t always have time for? Share your dreams and your plans to get back on track in the comments!