Joy gathered from writing increases with maturation

The shelves housing this year’s copies of past Gannon Knights are almost filled to capacity. If they were a hotel they’d be halfway through putting up the “No Vacancy” sign.

By the time my writing career comes to an end here, I will have written 24-plus Knight Visions, 60 columns, enough stories to break the rings on a three-inch binder and will have spent more time in the Walker Building than some of the residents themselves.

The write-revise-rewrite process is more ingrained in me than stop-drop-and-roll is in the child of a fireman.  But the question is why would I choose to put myself through the writing equivalent of childbirth every week?

Because I love it. A lot.

That, however, hasn’t always been the first conclusion that I’ve jumped to. I always thought I wrote because it was what came easiest to me; throwing words on paper was natural and usually ended up sounding good. Why stick with math when derivatives and limits gave me more headaches than a garage band?

My affinity for prose started in elementary school when I wrote a page-long story about the abominable snowman living in a mountain. My mom said that the tale, which is now either at the bottom of a garbage dump or in a tote with other items of my youth, was great and that I should be a writer. I have no idea if she was just being nice but I ran with the advice and turns out, I actually wasn’t too bad at it.

Not long after that I had plans to publish a neighborhood weekly with the help of my younger sister and, although embarrassing, I tried starting a war novel years later before I knew anything about writing or war.

Even though my ideas were beyond my years and my writing was so poor that it’d be jealous of Job, my parents never shot me down – for that I owe them the world.

Since then I’ve been trying to get better at my craft through columns, classes or side projects that I can promise will never, ever see the light of day.

Although expressive writing was always something I liked doing, I didn’t start loving it until I realized that painting an 8 ½ x 11 piece of paper with turns of phrases and observations could entertain the writer as much as the reader.

Writing is cathartic and can serve as a best friend or therapist – a blank piece of paper never wants to stop listening – and for good writing, that’s the trick. You need to share your feelings like no one other than yourself is ever going to read it.

That’s when you get raw emotion to spill through the black print. That’s when you’re able to put your soul onto the page.

Although it often leads to quite a few, “Did I really just tell people this?” thoughts after it’s printed, my writing is better off for it.

It’s the reason why some of you enjoy my columns while others wouldn’t even use them for toliet paper.

If you’re writing and worrying about what other people think, you’re doing it all wrong.

And that’s a sentence I’ll allow anyone to read.

 

ZACK MCDERMOTT

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