I am participating in the Writing Contest: How Writing Has Positively Influenced My Life. Hosted by Positive Writer.
Long before I realised it, writing was making my daily grind bearable. I didn't know it was a grind at the time because part of me loved working with the kids I taught. But the constant pressures of an ever changing school system went against my desire to help my students be the best they could be.
This can make any dedicated person become a little jaded to say the least. At exactly this point in my life my health gave out on me. In retrospect I see now how it was always meant to be this way. Writing was sitting there on the edge of my bed asking me why I was avoiding the only thing in my life which made real sense to me.
When I gave up teaching full-time to devote more time to my writing I believe I helped myself become a healthier, more rounded person. I used to be so tetchy all the time. Now I know I'm a better person to be around. I have more time for the people who matter to me and the causes which are most dear to my heart.
I spend my hours writing and come away as refreshed as when I started. Sometimes I forget to eat. I get up without the need for an alarm clock, with the desire to write so strong in me I can hardly believe it. If I have a day without my daily writing fix I start to feel myself exhibiting symptoms we associate with addiction. And what if I am addicted? It's the most amazing high I've ever experienced.
The illness which prompted my move into writing proper hasn't uped and gone away. My attitude to it has shifted. No matter how ill I am I can still hold a pen in my hand or get my fingers tapping on my keyboard.
And I know why this is. I'm writing for me. Yes I have an audience in mind when I create a piece of work but ultimately I'm doing the thing which makes me happiest. A thought comes into my head and I get to express it in the most natural way for me.
When I scribbled poetry as an angst ridden teenager I didn't realise how much of my soul I was laying down on those pages. Now that I'm older I fully grasp how writing is what salves my soul on a daily basis. It spurred me on when things seemed most bleak. When my father died the first thing I did was write a poem. The next thing I did was write his eulogy. For me it is the most natural process in the world. I do believe it comes easier than breathing or communicating with others. And when I look back on what I've written and how far I've come as a person – I can't help but feel proud.
The writer in me was born out of the reader in me. That was instilled by a mother who was an avid reader and put texts into my hands other parents at the time felt inappropriate. But The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia gave my 10 year old self the right to believe everyone can be who they want to be – hobbit, fairy, talking squirrel.
So I am a writer. And that's what I aim to be till the day my ashes lie beneath some tree in a forest full of the characters in my favourite books. Hopefully a few characters I created will be there too.
I write, therefore I am!