The Courage of Becoming a Writer
Quote for the week
Dreams don’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work to make them come true. -
By Laurie Hazel on February 1, 201
Sometimes we re-discover dormant dreams that are buried underneath a pile of life that simply happened to us. If you are one of the lucky ones, who can find a respite from the burdens of the everyday comings and goings, you might be able to catch a glimpse of those dreams snoring under the covers. When you do, you have two options, you can either respect their sleep and move on, or you can wake them up and see if they want to join you again in the journey of your life.
Five years ago, I decided to wake mine up. Since the day it happened, I have been traveling this life with my dreams by my side. But, bringing youthful dreams back into your life is never an easy thing to do. If they are old dreams, they come with baggage. And, more often than not, they make sure to rub it in your face that the time you let them slip away was precious time you lost, and time you missed from developing them. This could not be truer for dreams like mine, which are about being a good writer and becoming an author.
How my Dreams Fell Asleep
I never enjoyed school and I hated every subject except for Art and English. So, I decided that I wanted to study the combination of my two loves, Film Making and Screenwriting. The day I graduated from High School was one of the happiest days of my life, it was also, one of the most uncertain ones. Little did I know that life had something different in mind for me. My family and I moved countries and what I wanted to study no longer was an option for me. I had to choose a career from the limited options available, where we went to live. I decided to study Psychology. Five years later, I obtained my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a minor in Psychoanalysis.
I would be lying if I tell you that I did not enjoy studying psychology, because I really did end up falling in love with it. I always liked reading and studying and that’s pretty much all you do when you study psychology. I found it mesmerizing the way these scholars and academics came up with fascinating theories and ideas and how they managed to explore so deep into the human mind. Reading Freud, Saussure, Piaget, Jung, Lacan, and so many others was a pleasure to me. And, as simply as that, I sent my filmmaking and screenwriting dreams to bed.
Fast forward to today, I am a wife, a mother of two, and my husband and I live with our children almost 9,000 km away from family. For me, like for everybody else, life happened. With every new thing that life threw at me, I threw cover after cover on top of my old dreams, burying them without care.
I caught a Glimpse of Them
One of the most challenging things I have ever done is moving far away from family. It’s the fastest way to grow-up and mature, especially when little ones come along. Our move to Canada brought to my life many wonderful blessings, it also brought many pains, challenges and regrets, mainly for the ones I took away with me and the ones I left behind. It’s funny how life works though, because from that pain I was able to find the dreams I thought had died in me long ago.
You see, my children don’t share their everyday lives with their grandparents and my parents are always anxious to know about them; they live feeling they are missing out on seeing them grow-up and, in all honesty, they really are. Then there’s me, the one who separated them, the one who lives with a constant feeling of having to repair the distance I created between them.
So, in my desperate attempt to fix this somehow, I started recording footage, taking photos of every detail of our lives far away from family and sending it to them. But the images alone didn’t tell the whole stories behind, so I decided to write about them. I slowly woke up my writing dreams and as my stories grew so did my love for writing them. The Marmot Adventures Gazette was born, our family newsletter splattered with photos, drawings and snippets of our lives and the stories behind them written by me.
Soon, I found that writing became the way in which I could show the rest of my family what they could not see. It became an attempt to make them feel part of what I had robbed them. I wanted my writing to be as accurate and as enticing as possible. I wanted to capture every moment in words filled with joy and flooded with tears. I wanted to make them laugh and cry and live through my narration what they were not being part of. My writing ambitions were too big for the kind of writer I was then. I tried to write clear and precise recounts of the events that took place but, in my attempt to capture every detail and be true to the events, my stories were boring, they felt cluttered and abounded in useless words. I could see through those early writings that something was missing.
I soon found that writing is a very hard thing to do for the untrained and new writer. My writing dreams made sure to show me that if I dared to go beyond the simple outpouring of feelings, the loose rambling of ideas and the free flow of thoughts I was not prepared to write as well as I wanted. Good writing is different than simple diary writing. Our memories are kept in our mind as images and video-like short films that make sense and are coherent. It is in the putting them into words that we lose something, that we are prevented from telling them exactly as we see them in our memories. Words are chaotic inside of us. Thoughts go faster than words can be written or typed. To be a good writer we need to train our minds to organized thoughts, to think clearly. Then we need to learn how to convey them in the most vibrant and efficient way possible.
Unfortunately, not all of us are lucky enough to simply decide to push the breaks in our lives and go back to school for an English degree or and MFA. The scenario becomes grimmer when your dreams involve making of writing a career, and you are so behind someone who’s received the proper training in their younger years. But, “Writing is a craft you can learn,” said Roy Peter Clark, ‘America’s writing coach’, senior scholar and vice president at one of the most prestigious schools for journalism, the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida. He also writes, “You need tools. Not rules,” in one of his masterpieces, Writing Tools. That means that as new writers we are not hopeless, after all. It will certainly be challenging and very hard. But, if writing is what you want to do and what you love, then take courage and dive in, to learn how it’s properly done.
In my next article I will discuss ways to begin this wonderful quest.