A funny thing has been happening recently. People have been asking me about writing. I was bemused when I went to a Vinyl Cafe Roadshow with Stuart McLean and one person in the audience asked him where he wrote - not how, or why, but where, as if the place he wrote has some effect on the quality of the work. McLean answered patiently, but I was a bit more baffled recently when someone pointed to my favourite chair in the living room (obviously the favourite as the leather is well worn and faded) and asked if "that is where the magic happens", motioning to my computer on the table beside it. I almost snorted out loud, but I managed to maintain my composure as the "magic" often happens on my cellphone when I am waiting for the Intrepid Junior Blogger, frantically tapping out a note to collect my thoughts before they are lost forever in the ether (or in the fog of my memory). Writing, you see, isn't magic. Writing is damn hard work.
I love writing this blog, and have since the day I started it. And ever since I began I have encouraged others to start blogs too, or maintain the ones they have. I have offered advice and thoughts and encouragement, but when I check their blogs I often find posts that are weeks, or even months, old. And it isn't because they didn't try, or because they didn't want to do it - I suspect it's because they learned that blogging is work, and keeping a blog current requires time, and effort, and commitment (on occasion I think it means I should or will be committed, but I digress).
When someone asks how to start writing I always tell them to just start. I always tell them to just begin, as there will always be reasons not to do it. I tell them not to apply too much pressure, no "I must write for x minutes every x days", but rather to write when and how often the urge strikes, because writing on a schedule can begin to seem like a chore rather than a joy. But I tell them to start (even though my own book project languishes in neglect, waiting for days when my life isn't filled with pets and teen girl and a full time job and laundry and taking the car to get the oil changed and groceries and...well, I'm as good with excuses as the best of them, it seems), because starting can be the hardest part.
I have even been asked if I would give a seminar on blogging, or perhaps a workshop on blogging and social media for those around my age who feel left behind by Twitter and Linked In and the myriad ways we now connect (or disconnect, as while I love social media I wonder on occasion about what it is doing to our true, personal connections). And maybe one day I will run a seminar or workshop on exactly these things, if there seems to be interest or need. And I will start it by stating two things: 1) writing is work, and 2) just start.
People still ask why I began this blog, and the answer has never changed or wavered. It has always simply been a chronicle of my life here, the good times (and some of the bad) in this community we call home. It has always been my simple attempt to tell the story of my life here, and on occasion I have had the honour and privilege of telling the stories of others. I won't claim I have always gotten it right, and some blog posts have given me more headaches than you can imagine (and some provoked hate mail, too). Some blog posts, though, have brought me to new people and new joys that cannot be measured in words, even in the words of this blog. There are moments that will live in my heart forever, and while I did not start the blog because of it perhaps that is why I keep writing it - for those moments, those ones that come so unexpectedly and take you by surprise - and then take your breath away. So I suppose some day if do that blogging and social media workshop I will start with three things: 1) writing is work, 2) just start, and 3) just don't stop, because this work of writing may one day prove to be the place where you find the moments that define you - and the ones that bring you tremendous joy. Those are the moments that keep you going, because they are where the true magic happens.