I wrote a lot papers in high school. A lot. Our English department had a rigorous curriculum and very high standards, and since I had an aptitude for the subject, I was in honors and AP English classes, which really increased the amount of time I was spending writing, proofreading, revising, and writing some more. The cycle of one paper after another after another became multiple papers at the same time when I got into college and majored in English/Secondary Ed. I was never that great on the literature side, but I grew tremendously as a writer. And even though it was hard work, I enjoyed the toil and the result.
Then I graduated college and immediately stopped writing. As an English teacher at that very same high school with the same rigorous curriculum, I did plenty of editing and revising and, honestly, the high volume of grading is one of the things that did me in. After I quit I wasn't even editing any more, though I still moved through the world silently correcting the typos on store signs and the grammar of the people on TV. I helped job seekers with resumes and cover letters when I worked at a staffing firm, but that's not exactly writing. And I've written thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of emails during almost 18 years in the business world, but that type of writing is not that enjoyable and certainly not memorable.
I tried to contribute to one employer's blog, but my writing style was so heavily criticized by my boss I gave up. Then in 2012, I had the opportunity to write an article for an insurance magazine. I poured my heart and soul into the piece on the power of appreciation in the workplace. I had such a good time researching it and writing it! A year later, I wrote an article about following through that several of our insurance agency partners published in their agency magazines. In 2015, I wrote an article on stepping into your dreams that I based off of a speech of the same name. A year later I wrote a piece about the founder of Sisters U. I helped edit and write some other pieces in U Magazine as well. It was fun but sporadic.
And then last winter I started this blog. I write every weekday morning, resulting in two posts a week. There are plenty of days I sit and stare at the blank screen without an idea or the right words to express the idea, but writing daily has truly been a joy. And writing my own observations about my life and endeavoring to inspire others is much more fulfilling than analyzing poetry or writing research papers ever was. I recently got even more involved in U Magazine, serving as the second set of eyes for all the writers, and although it comes with plenty of challenges, I am learning from those challenges and doing valuable work.
Writing helps me think. Writing helps me process the world. It helps me articulate my thoughts. But this post is not about encouraging you to write more. It's encouragement to resume a pastime you used to love but rarely do any more. Is it a creative endeavor? An athletic activity? An academic one?
Think back to 10, 20 or 30 years ago. What did you love doing then? Could you do it again now? Perhaps not in the same way or not as well as you used to, but you may find great happiness by tapping into a part of it you loved. I recently got out scrapbooking stuff I haven't touched in well over 5 years. It sparked joy in me to think about scrapbooking again.
Revisit an old hobby.
Photo by Kaitlyn Baker on Unsplash