Writing changes perspective, outlook
As life goes on, new opportunities arise and old ones fizzle away. Nothing in life stays the same. You find new friends, you lose old ones; new jobs replace the ones you once had, and life pushes you forward whether you want it to or not.
Writing for hundreds of thousands of people is not an experience that many people get to enjoy. It is quite scary knowing that what you say will be read and analyzed by people you have never met, and these people might grow to like or dislike you based on what you have written.
Being a columnist has opened my eyes to many things, such as the smallest happening can turn a column into the most important lesson. It’s easy to touch someone’s heart, but only if yours is open to them. And you never know who is truly listening to what you say, until they write you a letter.
I was a scared, mostly innocent adolescent before this columnist job. Then I had to start writing — and caring — about what was not only going on around me, but what I felt and thought of it. The ideals and opinions started to catch and take hold and before I knew it, I had grown a backbone. Not just from writing, but from believing in what I was saying and knowing that for once in my life, what I said mattered.
What truly changed within me was not only my confidence, but my passion. I had strong feelings toward everything I was doing. Soon, what I was writing was not only about silly little stories and whimsical tales, but instead included depth — not only in the story, but in the connection they had to me. I wasn’t only writing about what was going on around me; I was interpreting it and writing from what was in my soul.
The more a person puts themselves into a column, the more attached they become to the writing. And the more vulnerable they become for it.
It is difficult to write about something and express how it changed you and how you feel about it, mainly because you’re embarrassed and afraid of what people will think of it. How I knew I had learned this lesson of making sure I was writing the way I wanted to was after finishing every column, I would ask myself, "Do I really want other people to know this about me?" If I answered no, I would send it in.
Expressing yourself and putting yourself out there can have its ups and downs, but the confidence and strength you gain for doing it supersedes the disadvantages by far.
It takes skill to write a research paper — skill I’m not particularly fond of — but it takes heart to write to the souls and minds of thousands of unknown people.
I would like to thank the Post-Bulletin for giving me this life-changing experience and all of the faithful readers who have stayed with me during my columnist days. It has been a fun ride and I hope someday you will read me as a full-fledged writer and reminisce about my columns when I was a teen.