Many years ago my parents made the switch from Catholic School to Public School. Tuition was on the rise and it made sense for a growing family to cut back. I didn’t mind so much, the public school kids seemed to get more days off for various holidays.
I must have been in 5th grade at the time and one of the very first classes I walked into was English Composition (or it might have been Grammar – I can’t remember exactly). At any rate, I’m introduced to the teacher and told to be seated at a desk against the wall.
It was kind of an odd setup, the teacher’s desk was behind us while the blackboard was in front of us. I was handed a floppy composition book with a manila cover and told that it was time to do our journals. I would need to write at least 50 words about anything I’d like.
I picked up my pencil and started writing. After about 50-something words I set my pencil down and began looking around the room. A voice from the back of the class called out to continue writing if we were already finished.
Doing what I was told, I picked the pencil back up and wrote some more. After a while I glanced around and noticed that everyone else was still writing. Things were getting a little uncomfortable but I pushed forward and wrote even more.
After what seemed like an eternity, the teacher told us that our journal time was complete and we could stop writing. She then went down each aisle, asked how many words each student wrote, and glanced at the entry to verify before moving on to the next student.
I want to say that most students were in the mid-fifties to low sixties. When it was my turn, I was embarrassed to tell her my count. It was something like 250 words and, of course, she didn’t seem to believe me.
The journal entry gave me a reputation in the class as a kid writer. I remember that teacher even encouraging me to write more and more as the year went on. I’ve always enjoyed writing but I never pursued it much, I just wrote for leisure. My biggest hang up has always been grammar.
As I’ve gotten older I’ve tried to continue writing in a variety of fashions. I did creative writing for a while, which was fun, and I like to blog. I made an effort to follow the digital trend and shift my note taking and rough ideas to electronic devices. Results have been mixed.
First I tried using a Word Document to keep notes, which just didn’t work for me. I was a big fan of Google Wave for collaboration but the service was terminated. I’ve tried my hand at apps like Evernote and Workflowy but I’ve never been able to stick with it.
Lately I’ve resorted to jotting down notes on random scraps of paper. This has been the best solution for me, by far, but they often get lost or thrown out before the ideas come to fruition.
Then, out of the blue, I came across an article today on Medium. It was titled Why You Should Always Carry a Notebook and it inspired me to run out and pick up a couple of notebooks this evening. I don’t know if the process will stick but it has me excited.
Knowing that I have a small notebook at my disposal has me eager to fill it with random thoughts and ideas. I’m often struck by ideas for blog posts but I never seem to flush them out into something more. Perhaps a notebook will make that possible. Only time will tell.