I received an email recently from a writing contact I have known for a few years to inform me she'd submitted my name to a professional editor who is looking for bloggers to add to her Baby Boomer women's website. She told me to expect to hear from this woman soon. Within a few days, I also received an email from this editor as well. I was pretty thrilled. Still am, for that matter. She told me she would love to have at least a couple of blog entries from me per month.
In writing emails back and forth, trying to figure out what she wants, how she wants it written, I am beginning to find out I don't know whether writing at a 'professional' level is for me. I don't want to chop away at my posts until they're so sanitized I won't recognize my own 'voice' any more. I honestly don't write for the pleasure of anyone else but me. To have people enjoy coming here again and again and leaving encouraging comments is an added bonus for me. But that's not why I've been writing since I was 8 years old. Almost half a century.
Why do I write?
Now, there's a question. I don't know if I have the answer, but I'll try.
I write because I need to empty out the words that build up in my head. I can feel the pressure in my brain, craving that release, the endorphin 'high' I get when I finally hit that "Publish Post" button. It's an addiction. Not quite an obsession, nor a compulsion. It's seeing something, hearing something, experiencing something and wanting to share it with the world. And then trying my best to make it 'real' for them, too, especially for my grandsons to come and read someday when they've reached adulthood.
I had a conversation with my younger brother several months ago. Both of our parents are dead now and we find ourselves chewing over our pasts quite often when we get together, trying to come to terms with a lot of different issues and memories. When our mother died, she died almost friendless. If it hadn't been for my dad and us children attending her memorial service at our oldest brother's church, there would've been very few in the crowd whose lives had touched hers in any personal way. Those who were there were friends of my oldest brother. As my younger brother and I were talking I said to him, "You know, outside of giving birth to the four of us kids, Mom really contributed nothing more to the world, did she?" She wasn't a bad person, and I think a lot of her insecurities came from lack of confidence and self-doubt, but she never opened up and gave any one much of herself. Even to us children. Not emotionally.
I don't want that to be my legacy. My greatest fear in life is to have someone say, "She was just like her mother."
That is why I share the words in my head. That is why I've sat down at this keyboard and typed 1,070 blog entries on this blog and several hundred more on my first 'retired' blog. I'm leaving a huge piece of "me" behind. For my children, for my grandchildren. That is why I don't want to chop down, weed out, guess and second-guess what I write. If an editor's gut instinct tells them they 'love my voice', go with it. Publish it the way it is. Let the reading audience decide. I don't want to lose myself in trying to make my blog into what someone else thinks it should be. It isn't theirs. It's mine. It's me. And some stranger who comes along and reads this for its editorial merit is going to find a lot wrong with it. And that's ok. But if they only had a clue of the blood, sweat, and tears...the great joys and great sorrows...the good times and the bad...that have contributed thru the years to this 'voice'.
I am who I am.