You decided to read because I probably sound a little crazy…this could be interesting.
I have often had great ideas come to me in the middle of the night; the only problem is that they often disappear in the light of day. That time of the night/morning, around four o’clock when you lie there strangely awake, when your body still craves sleep, is when the mind can drift.
Like dreaming while still awake.
It’s not day-dreaming, but more a time when you find a new perspective on the things that sometimes seem either trivial or less urgent in the light of day. Or maybe they are deep and intense things that you just don’t have the time to think about when life gets busy and hectic.
Maybe it is that my days are too busy to leave the ideas room to play. Maybe it is safer that way.
My mother did this too. She did not write, that I know of, but she worked and raised a family and life was busy. She used to keep a pen and paper beside her bed to write down those ideas when they arrived in the middle of the night. Maybe she still does.
So how did I become a writer?
When I was in grade seven, we had a poetry contest in school. The principal read my poem over the public address system for the whole school to hear. It was grade seven, and I don’t remember it clearly, but my best friend still reminds me of it and how great it was.
I was terribly shy, the new kid in school and taller than most of the kids in my class. I can’t imagine that this brief moment of stardom helped any of that. Perhaps, however, it launched me as a writer…I don’t know.
I have probably written miles and miles of words, sentences, paragraphs and pages since then. Many times, it was assigned writing, much if it in the form of essays, term papers and essay questions on exams while I was in university.
Much of it since then has been for post-grad courses, writing courses, speeches I have had to deliver and even business operations manuals. Sometimes I have written in journals, trying to make sense of the craziness of life.
I have had many titles in life, but have been reluctant to call myself a writer because the great writers that I admire are so much greater than I could ever hope to be.
Even after being hired to write for an online business magazine, it still felt weird to say that I was a writer, yet I made my living that way.
I stopped writing for a while because life happened. Sure, I wrote for work. I wrote notes. I wrote lists. I wrote letters and e-mails.
Now I am doing something that I’ve always wanted to do—editing other people’s writing.
I love it even more than I thought I would.
It is a privilege to take the gift of someone’s written words and deliver them in the best possible light. To put their words out into the world…it is the best thing that I have found in a long time.
Along with that responsibility, I am also asked to write. And so, I tentatively, reluctantly begin.
Sometimes the writing is inspired by something; like last Saturday morning, I was having pancakes with my family, when I realized that my gluten-free pancakes (after tinkering with the recipe for several months) finally tasted just like normal pancakes. I wrote about that and shared the recipe.
Sometimes, I read or see something profound that everyone needs to read or see. I want to share it, but don’t, because I don’t know what to say to introduce it. I don’t want to somehow reduce the importance of it by writing about it at all.
Then, I am given a challenge to write and publish a blog post within a short period of time. It’s go time. I write the intro, I add the video and it comes together just right.
This reminds me of what I love about being a writer.
The sensitive issue with writing is when there’s something deep and personal, maybe even something a little bit raw. I want to write about whatever it is, but I’m not quite ready to share it yet.
Like my divorce. Like raising my kids on my own for many years. Like living with chronic illness. Like never being able to find the perfect-fitting bra.
I am an intensely private person; those things take some time.
The in-between things that are deep and personal but not on quite the same level, like the death of my dog, I can put out there in small pieces and share them along with a funny video.
There are no funny videos about the really tough stuff.
I also know that, eventually, I will write about those things too. I promise you, dear reader, that when I do, I will try to edit them well and put in some beautiful, inspiring pictures for you to look at while you read.
(Coming up with a catchy title might be a little more difficult.)
The writing, when it comes, is sometimes unpredictable, I guess. I have learned to jot down the ideas because when I think, “I will remember this,” I sometimes forget. There is also the possibility that sometimes forgetting is better.
But I am learning to write when the words find me.
There are so many words inside that are waiting to get out that I find myself awake at four a.m. with ideas flooding my mind.
So I write.
I am a writer.
Although…maybe I could write when I’m not supposed to be sleeping?
Terri Tremblett is a writer, artist, mom and wife who gets paid to manage other people’s money. She is equally at home walking the beach, digging in the dirt or furthering her quest to bake the perfect gluten-free brownie, but has not yet mastered the art of walking by a book store without going in. A former business news columnist who is passionate about wellness and healthy living, Terri is an Assistant Editor at elephant. She is trying to become a photographer—and discovering there is much to learn.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise