When I was in second grade, I decided I wanted to be a writer. We were learning about onomatopoeias, and I was killing it. I remember writing this paper about spending a weekend at my grandparent’s lake house in Minnesota. My family showed that they could camp, swim, and fish, all things I had never experienced before. I frantically wrote ten pages about the experience, being sure to include plenty of descriptive sounds. Fully convinced that it was the best thing ever written, I believed it was going to put me on the map as a writer, someone would discover my talent and hire me to write for them.
A few years later, I found that paper in a box and realized how absolutely terrible it was, and right then I decided I definitely was never going to be a writer. My friends are aware that my memory of the past is extremely spotty, and there are very few things I actually remember, but I remember this. I threw away my notebook and never tried to write something decent again.
Up until my senior year in high school, I did the very minimum in english classes. It wasn’t worth trying, I thought that my words were useless. But during my senior year I had a teacher who believed in me more than I did. I started to read again, and to write. I filled up journals and put more time working on papers than I did on any math or science homework.
The problem was, all of the books I read and lessons I heard on writing put me to sleep. I didn’t care about the proper way to write, I knew the theories about how to formulate a story well, but I didn’t want to believe that every good story followed the same plot line. I just wanted to pull stories out of my head and put them on paper, for me. But it slowly dawned on me that life was a story. I was a character, writing was a conflict, and my teacher was the guide.
From then on, writing helped me learn about who I was, and led me to discover truths about the way I thought. Then I read something that spoke life into the way I looked at writing.
“Words are life set down on paper. So seek out the company of others.” -Paulo Coelho
Every person is a story, and we all have thousands of stories. Just like the gardner is responsible for tending to the flowers, and the teacher is burdened with tending to young minds, the writer is tasked with communicating these stories. And while writing these stories can be beneficial for the one writing, the purpose should be for the reader.
If you have the ability to run, you should run. If you can paint beautiful canvas, you are supposed to be make wonderful creations. If you know that you should be writing, don’t fall into the trap of self-criticism. For ten years, I could have been growing as a writer and telling the stories of the people around me, but I bought the lie that I couldn’t.
There are beautiful people out there with amazing stories, and they should be recorded. But in order to convey these stories, the writer has to move, meet people, have conversations, and share life with people. Doing this will not only improve your outlook on life, but it will allow others to hear the stories that need to be told.
To let a gift go to waste is an injustice to God, and to allow a beautiful story to be untold is a waste. More so, to allow a beautiful life to go untold is depriving that life of due praise. I knew in second grade something that was lost for the following ten years of my life: Life is an amazing story, and that story needs to be told.