Once upon a time, everyone wrote. You had to. There was no Facebook or Twitter, there were no e-mails or text messages, and there were no phones. So, when Mary missed her cousin Elizabeth, she’d sit down and pen her letter. Some times, it was long and some times it was short. And when William was in a romantic mood but his love was away, he sat down and wrote poems– mostly bad ones. But most importantly, everyone kept diaries- men and women. I didn’t live in those times, but I wish I did.
Today, few people I know keep diaries. And yet, there’s probably more of a need for them today than there was in the 1500’s. With so many distractions and life leeches in our day, self-reflection has changed from being a fact of life to a luxury for many. Have you ever forced yourself into a state of solitude? Even if for 20 minutes. Have you noticed what happens? You start thinking. Usually at first it’s about all that junk you have to do and that you’re not doing because you’re sitting quietly instead but eventually that chatter stops and you just start thinking. Amazing things happen when you start thinking, especially when you start thinking in a quiet manner.
We all have voices in our heads. I try and give them really clever monikers but they really just boil down to Good Voice and Bad Voice. Bad Voice is the reason I write, and Bad Voice is the reason I think you should write too. You see, for some reason it seems that the more fast-paced or charged a day gets, the louder Bad Voice becomes. Bad Voice is the one that reminds you of how clumsy, ugly, tired, dumb, weak, impatient, dull, poor, unworthy, unlovable, insert other negative word of your choice here, etc. you are. Bad Voice is a liar but despite the fact we live with Bad Voice our entire lives, we listen more often than we should. Maybe it’s because Bad Voice has a habit of whining, shouting, and screeching. As Moms, we know how hard it is to ignore whining, shouting, and screeching. Bad Voice knows it too.
Good Voice is smart. Good Voice knows it doesn’t need to raise its voice with you. Good Voice knows that you only listen when you want to listen so it just sits around quietly waiting until you’re ready for it. And that’s why you need to write. First of all, when you take the moment to sit and organize your thoughts Bad Voice has a harder time getting through to you. Mostly, this is because it’s spewing a lot of nonsense and because you have begun the calming process, you have time to see the nonsense for what it is. When you’re flying through your day, wrestling with one stumbling block or another, it’s hard to see Bad Voice as nonsense. Bad Voice makes sense when bad things happen.
The other reason I write and you should write too, especially with the intention of sharing your words through the blogosphere for instance, is the simple act of putting your words onto paper is an act of self-affirmation. The simple act of committing your words to paper or monitor tells your Bad Voice you do have something to say and you are worthy of attention. So, this one is for all of you would-be writers and for all of the women here, and elsewhere, who have thought about writing but didn’t think anyone would be interested in what you have to say. Or maybe you wrote once or twice and didn’t write again. Write. Write for you. You will always have an audience and even if it’s just you and your voices, you’re reminding yourself you’re worth listening to. Because you are. We all are.