I didn’t always enjoy writing—in fact, I can still remember a time when I hated to write. Through public school all the way up into high school I wrote for school assignments–and did well at it. But only occasionally did I ever find it enjoyable. And then it was generally because I liked the assignment more than deriving any real pleasure from crafting something that people would enjoy reading.
It’s difficult to pinpoint when that changed. I’ve been thinking about it for days, and I guess it happened slowly through my college years. That was when I had the freedom to pick classes that interested me. Sure, I had to take a history class, but I got to choose the Peloponnesian war over WWII and it’s effects on Modern Society. That class had a lot of writing–and a professor that was a real nitpicker–but I remember enjoying writing my essays.
Later, as I moved into advertising courses, and a host of creative writing classes, and essay-centric classes that explored interesting subjects, writing became more and more of a joy.
I’m certain that much of that had to do with my ability to tackle interesting subject matter. Added to that was the fact that I was now skilled enough at writing that it wasn’t a source of undue stress. But there was something more. I had finally stumbled upon the truly artistic side of writing. I had begun to feel about words what painters feel about paints and colors. The words began to have beauty in and of themselves. Words became things–sure, things with specific meanings–but still they were things. Building blocks. Paints. Notes. Colors. Rhythms.
This was when writing stories and essays became fun. When I would take my notebook and pen, find a 24-hour diner, stake out a booth, mainline iced tea, and produce pages and pages and pages of…well, sure some of it was crap. But a lot of it was good. And even the stuff that wasn’t good, was fun.
My whole writing career, that’s the feeling I’m trying to replicate. When I sit down with my favorite fountain pen, and some mid-quality paper, I’m trying to rid my mind of all my problems and get back to that booth with the endless iced tea, and the steady stream of words.