By: Hunter Folsom
It’s funny how I can send out emails, make schedules, create assignments, and badger people to turn their assignments in on time when I’m not really writing at all. I’m a hypocrite, asking these poor innocents to write, write, write!! when I, myself, am doing no such thing. I got into this editing position at Beloved because of my love for the written word. Why do I love to write? When people ask me that, I either say 1) “I feel closest to God when I’m writing,” or 2) “it comes naturally to me. And it feels good to do what’s natural…ya know?”
Well, lately, what’s become natural is editing. Editing, editing, editing. I edit for Beloved and for another online publication, and this last week has been the first time since January that I’ve had the spare time to sit down and write (which comes in good timing as I put myself on the blog schedule for May 31, and I have a deadline to turn this in to…well, myself).
But writing can be difficult, especially when you’re out of practice. Writing is tough because you’re trying to get this massive idea bouncing around amongst all those neural pathways in your brain into one place. Splat onto the page, it usually goes. It doesn’t sound pretty, or articulate, or even remotely understandable at first. Another person reads it and they’re like, “huh?” It’s a process. Let me let you in on a little secret though: that’s what I love about writing. It’s a beautifully messy process, and it is so, so much fun.
Writing is tough because it’s vulnerable. You’re not just putting your inner thoughts on the table — the topic of your piece — you’re also putting your writing capabilities out there for everyone to see. Your deep thought processes and your ability to do something you care about are up for speculation, for judgment, for consideration. And, to be honest, people will judge you. They’re going to read your blog post or your book or your magazine article — whatever — and they’re going to say, “I like that,” “I love that,” or, “I hate that.” Or maybe they’ll even say something lukewarm and just blah, like, “I could’ve written something better,” or “hmph.” Or they’ll notice that one typo and scoff, “how can these people call themselves a real publication?”
Yikes! After reading that, you may be thinking, so why does anyone want to publish anything they write again??
There’s an adrenaline rush, a moment of excitement and passion and joy that comes with seeing your article in a magazine, in a newspaper, in clicking that “share” button for a post with a blog post link attached to it. A moment of who cares what they think — I wrote this for myself and I love it, I do. I love what I’m learning right now, and I want the world to know. There’s those thoughts: I’ll get to read this again someday when I’m sixty years old and remember how I felt that day when I blogged about stepping on Irish soil for the first time in my life, or how it felt to be a part of the beginning of a new magazine, or how I felt when I wrote my first article for a high-profile magazine or, how I felt when I began brainstorming ideas for my first novel (yes, yes, I do want to write a book someday) (I’m a dreamer, okay?).
Writing is good for the soul. I believe everyone should do it. It’s a way of processing thoughts, it’s a way of validating dreams, it’s way of visualizing the prayers you may be afraid to pray. Truly, it isn’t even about being “published,” it’s about the experience, the story. Writing is remembering, reflecting, commemorating. Writing is about sharing — whether that is simply with yourself or it is with your community or it is with thousands, that is up to you.