I don’t remember when I decided I like to write. But I never minded taking notes in school or at meetings as a reporter. I still remember a writing assignment we had in Mrs. Spainhour’s seventh-grade English class: Write a personal narrative without using the word “I.” Writing content pieces in classes other than English never bothered me; I could even write about a math problem. After being part of The Clarion Colonel staff my junior and senior years of high school, I decided I wanted to be a journalist.
So I went to Murray State University, as far as I could go from Oldham County without leaving the state, and majored in print journalism. I never thought about changing my major and worked for The Murray State News all four years. I thought about being a copy editor, but reporting jobs seemed more available, so I interned at the Lexington Herald-Leader after I had my bachelor’s degree in hand, then took a nine-month temporary job at The Associated Press. I worked at The Richmond Register before we moved back to Murray, and I spent four years at the Murray Ledger & Times.
Yeah, it reads like a resume.
But I realized today these past 16 months mark the first time I haven’t had an assignment to complete. Since learning to write on that lined paper to guide my letters, I haven’t had an essay to write for a teacher or a newspaper article to write for an editor.
Please do not read I miss my job. I don’t.
But I seem to miss writing.
For me, there is a freedom in telling stories. There is the possibility to inform + inspire with the same piece. A story can make someone cry or make someone laugh. Maybe at the same time. People turn to newspapers (albeit less since the Internet has come to rule our lives) to find out what happened, what’s going to happen, who died and who won.
Since leaving the newspaper to hang out with my daughter, I’ve volunteered to write some press releases for our state senator who ran for re-election (and won!) and to help promote some local Red Cross fund-raisers. I wrote our annual Christmas letter in October then tweaked it in December because I am a nerd and like having a writing prompt. And, yes, I blog + write notes on Facebook.
Sometimes I read things (about motherhood or television, or even in an e-mail from a friend) and think, “I really wish I’d written that.” I have my favorite journalists bookmarked on my computer + read their stuff regularly. But somehow I’m waiting to be inspired.
Maybe I should just write. When I wrote for a paycheck, my best stuff always seemed to come when I was busy, as if the words flowed better when I just kept going. So maybe I need to apply that principle now. Just write. If you want to read it, good. But if you don’t, I should still write. For me.
Then maybe I’ll come up with something profound. Or funny. Or worth telling.