I am a writer…my experience at the National Writing Project’s Virtual Writing Marathon

I am a writer.  I believe in the power of words to get us through tough times.  I believe the  poetry and cadence of sentences can transport us to fantastic places.  I believe nothing fixes a bad day better than a well written scene that makes you laugh out loud or steals your breath with its beauty.   Words have the power to convey you to a magical place where you can forget your troubles for just a little while or have adventures you will remember for a lifetime.

I am a writer who is influenced by the great and terrible moments that make up a human life.  Writing gives me the freedom to relive those wondrous memories that I want to preserve and reframe those times that I’d rather forget.  I believe writing allows me to work through hard emotions and twist uncomfortable feelings into new experiences which are healthier and more positive.  Writing is therapy both for the writer and when done well, for the reader. 

I am a writer who wants to believe in magic and who wants to provide an escape from the hard moments of life.  I believe that days spent writing and slaving over the phrasing of a sentence is worth it if I can send that piece into the world and connect with someone else because my words resonate in some deep part of their soul or give them a few moments of laughter on a bleak day.  Storytelling is human and emotional, so I am a writer.    

I wrote this today at the National Writing Project’s Virtual Writing Marathon. It was the first time that I’ve done one of these marathons and I have to tell you, it was such an uplifting and joyful experience. I’m a solitary creature and I don’t like to let people read my work until I’ve analyzed every sentence multiple times, word-smithing things as I go along through myriad readings. But today, I didn’t do that. I had seven minutes and a prompt. Above is my first time writing under the gun, with a live audience.

I also wrote the beginning of a short story that I’ve been meaning to get around to. And I watched complete strangers read my work before I’d had a chance to refine it. So thank you Corina, Ann, Edmund, and Jen and the organizers of this project because when I saw the smile on the faces of my group members as they read my three paragraphs, I felt like I had finally seen the very human connection that writers want with their readers.

I also found my group members inspiring because not all writing is the same. Some writers have a musicality to their word structure, or an emotional edge, or the ability to find the extraordinary in everyday experiences. I spent ninety minutes writing with strangers today, and I am so much better because of it.

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