Have you heard the phrase ‘you learn something new everyday’? I’m willing to bet that you have and in all likelihood, you’ve used it a few times yourself.
Life is all about learning, even if you’re not academic, you are still learning something every day, no matter what you get up to. It could be a skill, a new word, an aspect of yourself, or the way in which something works around you. Learning is important and there isn’t an end to it.
I started learning to blog over five years ago. [I think – wordpress tends to remind me when another long, dusty year has somehow developed super-speed and whizzed past.] Over that time I have learnt quite a few things:
- How to blog. [Maybe – you can be the judge of that.]
- How to deal with critics [I made improvements alright! We’re not all perfect.]
- How to face obstacles and overcome them without going under.
- What will happen in my novel Shadow Dawns [Another maybe.]
- How to be a better writer.
- What it means to be in a committed relationship
- When I need to step away from things.
- When my body is telling me I’m doing too much.
- How to cope with loss.
- That I’m far more creative than I give myself credit for
- That I can achieve things [like drawing portraits] if I spend enough time working at it.
I could go on and on but I think I’ll leave it there. My point is, I’ve grown as a person over the last five years and I plan on growing just as much, if not more over the next five, ten, fifteen, thirty- however long I get to hang about on this planet.
Today I received a start reminder of how short life can be and how important it is to try and chase those dreams that really matter to you.
Five years ago I was writing pieces like this:
My laptop stands open, the harsh white light of a blank page staring out at me accusingly, because for some reason, I seemed to have betrayed it. Instead my hand creeps for the slick, silver curve of my favourite pen. The one for which I even search shops, to find the right sized ink refill, just so it can live a little longer.
It lounges in the cradle of my hand, its tip hovering over the lined expanse of a new notepad, my excitement pouring through this extension of me, waiting to spill out. Elbows resting on the unyielding wood of my desk as the world drops away, and a million voices rise to clamour for my attention.
Characters of youth and age, scrabble towards the page beneath my pen, their desperate dash to be the ones who finally spring to life in words and ink. Slowly the nib comes down and the white of the paper is blemished, unchangeable now in its imperfection, but perfection does not exist in the mind of a writer.
Today I write things like this:
Things rarely ended how Bellris intended. He’d kept his hood pulled low and his face in the shadows, but somehow they had noticed him.
He hit the wall at the end of the alley and scrambled for purchase. The stone was wet with rain and too smooth for climbing. The crates stacked next to him were soft with rot and half collapsing into themselves, with little to offer anyone hoping to scale the sheer wall.
He glanced back the way he’d come and the crowds still surging past the entranceway.
Hallows’ Night. The same explosion of revelry every year and every year he found himself in the same position.
Edget’s voice crawled inside his ear as the three shadows from the tavern emerged from the crowd, the rain shimmering in front of them.
They came down the alley single file, their bodies too wide to fit them any other way.
‘Oh Bellris…’ The two behind Edget cackled and Bellris threw himself against the wall again, the skin on his fingers tearing as he fumbled for a way to pull himself up. ‘Now, now. None of that.’
Edget’s hand came down on his shoulder and Bellris spun. His spine slammed into the wall and his skull bounced off the stone sending sparks of lighting crackling across his vision.
Hallows’ Night, let it be dammed by the Nine Lords of Chaos and every single one of their insane followers.
He felt the air leave his lungs as he double up, Edget’s fist lodged in his gut.
Looking back at that first piece I can’t quite recognise the style. I was probably trying to be poetic, and instead, came off sounding stuck up.
Prompts like this one from the daily post gave me chance to practice my writing and improve.
For example, I wrote this piece for the daily prompt: Borrow
How To Treat A Borrowed Heart
She gave out her heart like a library book,
not minding if it came back
dog eared, tea stained, well thumbed.
When she handed it to me
I could see the tear stains
left over from previous readings
and didn’t have to ask
if there was going to be a happy ending.
I just took it with care,
did not leave on the windowsill
to collect mould or yellow
in the sun.
I did not cram it,
to the bottom of my bag,
or leave it to shunt for space
with the biros and pencils
left loose and jostling down there.
I kept it well past the return date.
She was surprise when I asked
if she could renew my loan.
Writing in itself is a learning experience and a tool for learning more about yourself. That’s because it’s all about finding your own voice and the best way to express it. That first extract shows how much I wanted to sound good, like I was a real writer. These days I care less about how my writing looks on the page and more about how I feel when I read it back.
If it doesn’t feel like me I’m not going to put it out there.
So my parting note. Follow your own voice, learn all that you can, and follow the things that make you happy. If everything seems to be falling apart then cling onto the strands of your life that give you a reason to get up in the morning.
For me that has always been writing.
You are the only one who knows what means the most to you.
Written For The Daily Post Prompt: Learning