When Did I Start Writing

When Did I Start Writing (Audio)

Recently, someone asked me when I started writing and I could point to my first blog post in 2010 (Algorithms For Life) as a starting point, but then I realized this was really my “public” writing. Yes. I know I wrote book reports, and the such, back in grade school, but most of that was simply for the teacher, and Lord help me if I ever had to read it aloud!

When I was going through my “exit interview” from my Master’s program, I had to turn in a portfolio of my writing assignments while in the program. It was a thick notebook with a major assignment from each class. I was asked about my writing experience and for the first time I realized I wrote papers not only for a grade, but it cemented my views into a document that could live forever!

I do not remember enjoying writing assignments back in younger years. Remember. Pen. Paper. Hand cramps. Penmanship. Spelling and Grammar Mistakes! Cursive vs block letters! Staying within the lines! Putting your name on everything!

In 9th grade, I took “Typing 101” and my speed that first year was about 45 wpm (words per minute) with no errors. Along the way, I learned about spacing, formatting, and memorizing the keyboard so I could type without looking down, blinded to what was happening at the end of my fingertips. This learned skill that gave me a lot of advantages in the world before personal computers! Mainframe computers were operated by Keyboards! I’ve tested out at about 110 wpm with zero errors during this decade!

Move past the pen and typewriter, suddenly I’m in the modern world of having my own computer at home, and traveling with me in my backpack. It’s no longer a “work” tool, it’s now every day and all the time connection to writing words. It’s not Kansas anymore! Suddenly I could write morning and night.

I taught college in the 80’s, 90’s and now, and writing for consumption has been a learning curve, but having a keyboard connected to a screen has made my job easier.  I can type, correct and produce faster than one may imagine 100 years ago!

Hence, writing is something that has evolved as technology has become more commonplace. With the advent of social media, especially, we find the world is full of “writers” and if all the words were consumed and acted upon the world may be a sorrier place!

I have family who are talented writers – novels, sermons, business, ideas, poetry, short stories, and blogs. It just seems to be a genetic disposition to have words in the mind that find their way to print. “Print”. Now that’s a term that’s dated! Most of the books I seek to buy these days are e-books. I can buy on the fly, read to my heart’s content and have an onboard library of thousands of books and millions of words available at my fingertips.

When I’m preparing a subject to teach or a blog to write, most of the time it’s accomplished by staring at the screen while my hands pound the keyboard 18 inches below eyesight. My mind is racing down pathways of thoughts, words, sentences, paragraphs. Complete thoughts. Jumbled ideas. Taking notes for future assignments. Researching for synonyms, antonyms, and definitions. Seeking clarity for myself as well as the audience.

Now that I read my blog and record it in a podcast (Click Here), I find that my speech of the words on the screen do not always flow like they did in my mind when I typed them out. One of my first modes of editing is to read it, fix it, speak it, fix it, listen to it, fix it. And you still find mistakes in style, spelling, and grammar and the clarity of the message once it’s published!

Not that anyone says anything negative to me about what I write, well, a time or two some have, but to write for public consumption:

“I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.” ~Harper Lee

One of my favorite authors had a routine to writing that I somewhat relate to. Early. Done by noon. Live the rest of your life from noon until midnight, which for him included researching, teaching and all the other tasks important for the day. Then up early and hit the ground running, uh, writing… The last thing James Michener would do in the evening was to prepare his desk for the writing in the morning.

Wake up doing, go to sleep preparing. Not a bad way to look at it.

As my writing produces cemented words I do find that my foundation of expressing what I think is stronger. Researching topics before publishing words are analogous to keeping your foot out of your mouth! (Take a moment to imagine that!) Know what you know from good sources, polish how you present what you believe, and be prepared to support your view.

Research does not give me first-hand knowledge. It only gives me an illusion of experiencing in my mind what I’ve read about. Were life to give me a bonus to travel, then I would be going places and checking out things first hand! What this forces me to do, however, is to let my imagination of the location come alive in my mind. Because it’s my mind that connects my fingers to the keyboard and words flow to the screen in front of me!

Having grown tired of all the video’s and images that social media continually plops into my feed, I pinned this thought to my Twitter account and it really says a lot about how I want to digest things.

“Everyone wants you to read, listen or watch. Give me one good thing to read, I’ll be satisfied-My internal voice will paint Words and Pics!” ~@MikeGurley

Simple. That’s what writing has become to me. And, as my blog tagline says, I’m simply attempting to fulfill a desire.

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