I don’t know exactly when I fell in-love with writing.
Perhaps it was the time I was offered the chance to become a co-author in a women’s anthology book back in 2010. The writing experience was cathartic, and the process enlightening and revealing.
It was as though a once tattered woman chose to be vulnerable and share something with the world that was private, intimate, and required lots of courage and, in the process discovers another person inside her. This “other person” was a grown-up, courageous and emotionally intelligent woman with a healthier sense of self. A woman who had left behind the shame that bound her, the fear that clung to her, and the guilt that weighed heavily on her - for a million reasons - but broke out of that confining box with well- adjusted wings that would allow her to fly into whatever future she wished to create for herself.
It’s possible my love of writing was ignited after my first semester in college. I like to tell the story of the day I walked into my English 101 class wondering how I would get through it knowing that I did not like reading; did not read well; and had a problem with comprehension. Up until that time I don’t recall ever having read a book through to the end. Long story short, I finished the semester with A’s and A+’s on all writing assignments, and an A grade for the class. It could have been at that defining moment in my life that I fell in-love with reading, and by default with writing – as the future would reveal years later.
I continued writing and healing as I put pen to paper in different ways. I did journaling, wrote personal stories, and completed many creative writing assignments while in school. I read personal development books with workbooks that required I write answers to many thought-provoking questions that had me dig deep and come up with creative solutions. All of this helped me heal at many levels, and to my surprise the more I wrote the more I enjoyed it.
In May of last year I started the Healthy Living Blog. I can’t believe a year has passed and I find myself at the one-year mark. To celebrate, I invited my friend, Tanya Detrik to talk with me about this month’s topic, “Writing”. Tanya is an award winning Author, Writer and Speaker. I know her as she is today, but I wanted to know more about her experiences with writing. You can read her blog, find out about her speaking and her book at TanyaDetrik.com.
Q. When did you start writing?
A. I started writing when I was a teenager. I started writing poetry. I gravitated to poetry because it allowed me to focus on the emotions and the words without having to compose full sentences. It is also the most creative platform for punctuation. Very few rules! I wrote for myself, to get in touch with the angst of teen years, but I never showed what I wrote to anyone.
Q. When did you know you wanted to start writing as a career?
A Probably as a teen, but I didn’t know you could earn money doing it. I fell into it as a profession because I seem to have a natural gift for it, which I nurtured in business, writing marketing communications. It was not until I wrote my memoir, “Waking Up with Nora”, that I wrote about myself, my life and for other’s to read.
Q How did writing “Waking Up with Nora” change your life?
A Well actually, my granddaughter Nora changed my life. I wrote the book after the intense focus of the first two years of Nora’s life. During that time I supported my daughter in caring for Nora’s extreme health challenges with epilepsy and brain surgeries. I knew something in me had changed, but I didn’t really know what. I wrote the book as a catharsis and it became a personal exploration. In the writing, I discovered many things. It was my awakening, which is what prompted the title.
Q What would you tell anyone who feels they have something to share and would like to write a book?
A It sounds trite and easy, but I say just start it. Start writing. Write something. You don’t need an outline. You don’t need anything but your favorite writing tools and a place and time you won’t be interrupted. Don’t worry about perfection or editing. You don’t even have to start at the beginning. Write the emotional parts first. You can string them together later. Don’t fuss over the mechanics. Anyone can help you with mechanics, only you can release your story. Get all the worries about the opinions of family or the people you are writing about out of your head. Just write. It is healing, cleansing and enlightening for you. You can decide later if it will see the light of day or not. All of it is totally your work, your choice, your liberation. By the way, studies have proven that in treating post traumatic stress, 15 minutes of writing is worth hours of therapy.
Q What are some benefits of writing?
A I think I answered some of that, but let’s say you don’t have the desire to write a book. I am a believer in journaling. Writing as an exercise to reflect on your day, on your experiences and thoughts, or just venting on paper is a wonderful way to reset your brain and emotions. In the stressful world we live in, it helps make you feel more in control.
Thank you so much Tanya for sharing your words of wisdom with us today. Healthy Living is what most of us strive for. Your views and perspectives on the aspects of writing can only add to healthy living and to our own personal journeys as we move forward.
You can find out more about Tanya’s writing by visiting her website, TanyaDetrik.com.