This summer, I’ve developed an urge to write that feels very new. At 27, the majority of my past writing has been academic and analytical in nature. And spending hours in a library carrel, stretching ideas and sentences to meet a page limit, always fairly well exhausted any desire I might have had to write for my own “pleasure.” I graduated from a pretty rigorous master’s program last spring and subsequently felt no urge to write for a long, long time. I have never been good at keeping a personal journal (my handwriting is pretty atrocious), and I’ve never wanted to blog before (more on this later.)
But I find myself in a different place now. I’m a high school English teacher, so in a certain sense, I feel like I should be writing. I should be “walking the walk” with regard to the emphasis I place on practicing writing with my students. How can I simultaneously stress to them the importance of writing with regularity when I don’t find the time to do so myself? Those who are particularly critical of teachers say, “Those who can’t do, teach.” Am I contributing to this myth by not being a writing practitioner as well as teacher? This blog seems an answer to these fears about my teaching practice.
Interestingly, it’s also the absence of writing for any academic purpose that makes me want to write again. Despite the dread with which I sometimes approached writing papers, I miss the sense of purpose and accomplishment I always felt when writing. Writing is such a huge challenge, a seriously difficult thing to do well. (Truthfully, I’ve erased and revised this post at least twenty times so far.) It’s HARD to be a good writer, and as a teacher, it’s good for me to remind myself of this. It’s good for me to remember how it feels to struggle over sentence structure and word choice and grammar.
Like I said earlier, until now, I had a difficult time seeing the purpose in starting a blog. I worried it would make me seem self-centered. After all, what kind of person thinks their life or ideas are so novel, so fascinating that they deserve a public diary? But maybe I was thinking too narrowly about the purpose of blogs. Recently, I’ve been reading a variety of blogs – some about teaching, others about marriage, still others on body image, and some that are just beautifully and clearly written accounts of the writer’s life, thoughts, and opinions. I’ve been inspired by these blogs and by the commitment the writers have shown to practicing such a challenging craft.
So, I start this blog with at least one purpose in mind – improving my writing by regular practice. If someone happens to read what’s here and enjoy it, well then, that’s good too.