Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Writing-Not Writing

As soon as I learned how, I started writing. I can remember waking up in the middle of the night and turning on the light to write peoms and stories. My parents got used to seeing my light come on and stay on for hours. Mostly, I wrote poetry back then (in Jr. High), long, ponderous angst-filled poems that I always threw away with the light of day. Writing has been my way of making sense of problems and working through bad times.

When daddy died, as soon as I could, I sat down and wrote a detailed account of the day, so I could come to terms with what had happened. I didn't necessarily feel better for it, but seeing it on paper helped me understand the reality of it.

Then, I got to High School and started writing for the school paper. And, suddenly, people were actually reading what I wrote, and telling me when they liked what I had to say, and sometimes when they didn't.

In college, my friend, L, and I worked up our nerve to go to the Traveler office and apply for jobs. We were the youngest reporters working there, and no doubt, the source of amusement for the rest of the newspaper staff. We were simply bowled over when the editor came around the first time and handed us paychecks. We got paid! Wow! Not a lot of pay, but, Holy Cats! We were getting paid to do something we would have done for free.

After my college days were over, and I was married, I always managed to find a way to write, sometimes in the form of letters to the editor. Every now and then, I'd be paid for an article in a magazine, but, most often, I wrote for publications knowing there wouldn't be a paycheck involved. Pay or no pay, the satisfaction came in seeing something I had written in print.

Then, I got a job where editing and writing the company newsletter was part of my job description. It wasn't my main duty, but it served to keep me relatively sane during tense times on the job.

So, today, someone told me that I really ought to start writing. "You have a way with words. You should be writing." I told her that I wrote for my blog almost every day. Imagine my surprise when she replied, "That's not writing. That's scribbling!"

And, with those five words, my first reaction was that she managed to trivialize everything I had spent a lifetime writing. I mulled that over for the rest of the day and finally came to the conclusion that, no, she was dead wrong. She simply doesn't understand creating something without the expectation of pay.

And the blog? Well, where else can one actually publish something ever day or two and have it read by people from all over the world? And, then, best of all, receive comments on your writing. Now, that's satisfaction!


Peggy said...

What a bitch! How do you prevent yourself from slapping people like that?

You are a wonderful writer Betty. I check your blog almost every day just to see if you've come up with something new. You write beautifully!!! On top of that, your grammar and punctuation are perfect!

Why is it that the critisisms stick better than the compliments?

her indoors said...

write on Betty and you are right on

Velvet Sacks said...

I couldn't agree with you more. Plus, blogging has the extra advantage of not locking the writer into any specific literary box. It's wonderful to be able to write about whatever's on one's mind at a given moment, and you always write beautifully about what's on yours.

Tink said...

Scribbling?! *Scoff* Ignorant woman. You are one of the head writers in my little corner of the blogosphere. I read you more than I do any other literary work.

Nancy said...

Hello Betty,

I read what you have written almost every day and always find that I am interested in what you have to say, and impressed by the way you say it.

There are always people who are short on talent but long on criticism and you have to guard against falling into their trap. They want you down at their level so they can make you feel as incompetent as they are.

You are a wonderful writer and all the people who comment here every day prove that. They would not bother with your blog if they didn't come away from reading it with a new idea or a book suggestion or just some fun like One ringy- dingy.........

Keep up the great work and try not to pay any attention to critics.

Sister--Three said...

Betty, I was editor of the Tigers' Roar...Green Forest High Schools paper. Fayene Farmer was my adviser...ever heard of her? She wrote a book about life in rural nw Ar...I have a copy.

Betty said...

peggy: I'm pretty good at not letting things other say bother me too much.

her indoors: Thanks. I'll keep on keepin' on.

velvet saks: Writing the blog is very liberating, isn't it?

tink: My goodness. You sound like a fan. I'm flattered, since I enjoy your writing so much.

nancy: You have some pretty interesting things to say, yourself. Why aren't you writing a blog? Or, are you!

sister three: I don't think I ever met her. Interesting about her book, though.

Nancy said...

Hello Betty,

No, I don't have a blog because although I like to comment on other people's sites, I really don't think I am talented enough to write a blog on a regular basis.

I have a story appearing today at The Elder Story Telling Place that I would love you to read and comment on.

I first discovered you at Grannymar's blog and enjoyed your comments to her, so found my way to you and have been reading and enjoying your site ever since and enjoy it very much.

John said...

Yes, but it's erudite 'scribbling' Betty, and bloody entertaining. Keep at it 'luv'.

susan said...

Has that woman ever *read* your scribblings? She's nuts, I always look forward to new entries from you. I'm really glad that you were able to see your true worth and ignore the old bat.

dc said...

All I can add is that I agree with all of the above. Blogging has been a wonderful outlet for me, probably would write more "stuff" if I didn't have family reading it. :)

gawilli said...

Among your other writing, I love your political commentary. You always say just what I am thinking. And you do it so well.

Not many people I know have any idea what a blog is, so I wouldn't be surprised that they would make light of it. Amateurs.

Betty said...

nancy: I'll bet you'd have plenty to say. Your comments are always very interesting.

john: Thank you. I enjoy reading your blog, too.

susan: No, she doesn't really understand what a blog is. She doesn't like computers.

dc: I have family reading mine, too. But, just my kids, and I read theirs, too.

gawilli: She thinks if you don't get paid for it, it's just a hobby, at best. lol

Kay Dennison said...

Betty --

You are a great writer or I wouldn't keep stopping by!

I get the same thing from people I know. It's frustrating as hell because I put care into everything I publish.

What really got me was when someone blew off CNN linking to my blog re: the awful murder we had here earlier this year as "they just wanted someone local." I checked with our expert (Ronni Bennett) and she told me I had every right to be proud and explained how links were selected.

Scribbling, no -- writing, yes.

Dontcha just love people?

P.S. Glad you like the groaners -- send one along to continue the laughs!!!

Arkansas Songbird said...

Hmph! Scribbling. Some neanderthals simply don't understand the joys of creativity.

Betty said...

kay: Some days, if it weren't for people, my life would be a lot happier. lol

arkansas songbird: It's amazing how many people measure success by $$.

Kell said...

I bet I know who is was who said that. And even though you know that she doesn't know what she's talking about and she has all the tact of a gnat, it's still hurtful that she would say that. It's amazing how people will comment crudely on things they know nothing about.

Betty said...

kell: You know, sometimes you just have to consider the source.

Chancy said...

I always enjoy whatever you write. You are a talented writer. How did you hold your tongue when that woman came up with a mean put down.

Patsy said...

Well it is a sure thing that she doesn't read blogs or she would realize the great value of yours. Keep up the good work.