A few weeks ago I seriously considered giving up writing this blog. I have many ideas for future posts but I do find writing them very time consuming, writing does not come naturally to me, but in the same week I read something that made me change my mind. It really helped to put things into perspective.
I was articulate as a child, still am, I am a confident speaker happy to stand in front of a room full and people and talk. In my last job I had to do this frequently, my audience volunteers who in their professional lives were often older and far higher up the management ladder than me. Armed with a card of word prompts I could deliver presentations, workshops and training sessions without hesitation, but ask me to write a letter, which I had to do often, it would take me all morning.
At 18 just before sitting my final school exams, one of my teachers informed me that she thought I had wasted the previous two years studying English as I was never going to pass*. Aside from the fact that no teacher should ever speak like that to a student, what she and all my other teachers in the 14 years I spent at school failed to recognise and help me with is why I had such difficulty writing. The flow of my words was disjointed, I rambled and often didn't make sense, I scraped through exams and my essays were always given low marks.
So when I was reading in a chapter in a book by Michael Rosen about reading and writing....'it's not just a matter of learning off pat some good words or sentences, you have to learn the special kind of 'voice' that is the writing 'voice',' it made me stop, completely and the fog cleared. I read on about other facets of writing that can be hard to learn such as commenting on what it is we're actually writing or the way that you explain are more types of writing voice. Was I perhaps trying to write using the wrong voice. Could it be that for all of these years I have been trying to write using my speaking or talking voice. I am not so stupid that I didn't realise that there was a difference between these two forms of communication but I had no idea, practically, how they were different.
It explains to me why my teachers were always surprised at my inability to do well in exams or essay writing when I came across so articulate. It explains why my boss in my last job informed that he was hesitant to take on as my writing skills tested in interview were poor. It explains why for years I had jobs where writing was not integral part of the job.
So why on earth would I even want to blog. Well I have always wanted to improve my writing and be better at it. I am never going to be a blogger who can sit at the keyboard and rattle off a quick post ** but, maybe, just maybe I will find that writing voice that has been eluding for so long.......
*I did pass A Level English, with a C grade (these exams are graded from A - E, A being the top mark)
**It usually takes me a whole day, on and off (more on than off) to write a post of this length.