I read an article last night from the New York Times. It was about the recent disaster in Joplin, and it was one of the most beautifully written articles I’ve read in a long time. It was not just beautiful because it was written about a city that I have loved for as long as I can remember, but it was beautiful because it was written in a way that stirred something in me as a writer. I began reading the article to myself and was halfway through it when I realized that it was the kind of writing that could not be read only in one’s head, it must be read out loud. The words, the phrases, the beautiful expressions, they had to be given a voice. As I was reading it, I started to feel some longing deep in my soul. This morning, I figured out that it was because that is the kind of writer I want to be. I want to be the kind of writer whose words are so well written and beautifully used that the article must be read out loud. I want to be the kind of writer who writes with the purpose of stirring something in the hearts of the people reading my words.
I’m not that kind of writer yet, but I feel like I can become that kind of writer. It is part of the journey, improving as a writer. To some, it is a natural talent, but to others it is a practiced art. I suppose that it doesn’t matter how I get there, so long as I do. I believe that I can get there. Maybe I will never be as great or funny as Jasper Fforde, and maybe I will never leave a legacy behind that compares to Jane Austen, but I do believe that I can be an amazing writer. I want to be better than I am. I want to be funny and witty. I want my words to enlighten and inspire.
The journey to improvement is one of the harder parts of the journey, because it means admitting that you probably really aren’t that great of a writer. It means accepting the fact that, for now, no one is the least bit interested in what you have to say. It means that, most of the time, what you write will not inspire or make anyone laugh or beg to be read alout. The journey to improvement requires discipline and hard work, and a serious commitment to writing every day, not just the days YOU feel inspired. I haven’t mastered any of those yet. I’m working on them, but I struggle with the commitment. I want to write every day, but if I have nothing to say, I don’t write. That wasn’t part of the plan. I started this blog as a commitment to write every day, no matter what, even if the words I write are terrible. So, I’m trying again, to just write, without worrying if it is good yet, or if it inspires, but just to practice writing so that I can begin walking down the road to improvement.