ASSOCIATES (2011, March, v. 17, no. 3)


Effects of Writing on the Writer?

massey.gifTinker Massey
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

It has occurred to me, from time to time, that sometimes I get more out of writing an article, story or poem than I do going to conferences or reading other works. I don’t demean the work of others, but there is an emotional feedback in my development that causes me to grow and learn and question life itself. It’s like talking to yourself or others and finding in the midst of the conversation that you have discovered something new. Writing an article is like that a lot! I often ask the editor what focus he or she has for the issue. Sometimes there is nothing special, but more often than not, they have an idea of what they want to explore. Kevin said that this issue was shaping up to be about books and book reviews. He asked if I could compare print with digital, and I suppose I could have done that. But…I felt that would be boring for you all and just a repeat of one side or another. To be very frank, I like print for the sense of touching it and smelling it, and by George, I have the puzzle of finding my place again when I fall asleep reading and the book drops to the floor. The new technology readers find your place for you and what fun is that? The content may be the same, but the adventure is quite different for me. I don’t think I am alone in these thoughts. I’m not against the new formats, they just don’t enhance my reading, especially if I want to browse or scan materials. Well, enough said about that!

More interesting to me are the things I learn or new ideas that spring to mind when I am writing. As I write articles, books, poetry and children’s stories, I find that I keep a list of ideas that torment me in the process or new topics I might research and write about. For instance, people ask how I can keep coming up with new ideas for articles in Against the Grain, published six times a year. I have been writing for them since 2004, and I’ll leave the counting of that to you. Besides those, I have been writing for Associates since its inception, except for some transitional years from residing in Florida to South Carolina. Can’t count out the other extraneous articles in other journals both peer reviewed and not, either. The idea is not how many, but where does it all come from? I have been blessed with an inquisitive mind and a scientific upbringing that promotes a watchful eye on the world and the delight in asking why. First, I get ideas from others around me or those writing articles for reading. There are far smarter people in this world than me, but I am able to simplify things for general consumption. We all have skills and abilities either innate or developed over the years of growth in this world. I try to take advantage of good ideas and promote the positive aspects of them, applying them to practical vocational areas or personal living.

How many people have talked about the keys on the computer? It occurred to me one day that I didn’t know where things went when you clicked the delete button. I asked a number of people, like a survey, and wrote an article which was rather tongue in cheek, but entertaining. It still remains a thought in the back of my head. I hope someone really has an answer somewhere. Sometimes when we write about a serious problem, we are impacted by the weightiness of the topic or the resulting solution. I will wrestle with some of those issues until I can find positive answers and pass them on, but the internal discussion leaves its mark on my psyche. Words have power and ideas are the dynamite sticks that multiply their force. I can never be separated from my works as they become an integrated force in my passion for writing. What I learn when I write is phenomenal. My book started out with one premise and encountered a discovery of major proportion along the way. It changed the shape of the premise and evolved into a different conclusion than expected. Never knew it would happen or even suspicion there would be a difference from the outlined task. I have found similar differences in my life when I have begun to write. Now, I must say that the computers have enhanced this excitement, because I edit in Microsoft Word and look at a number of variations quickly for the reader’s sake. I have been able to help others see that words can be pictures on a page, especially in poetry. Sometimes the uses of diacritics can promote differences in meaning just as the tone of voice can change the listener’s reactions.

I think every writer finds that his or her texts can even change their own opinions or bring questions in their minds about the outcomes of the dialogue. I can read some of my articles years later and not remember that they are mine, but they still stimulate my thoughts. How are we able to do these things? I don’t really know, but I do know it happens and I find it interesting enough to try and keep track of the changes it causes in me. I believe that if I had not ventured into writing, my life would have been very boring. One of the ways I have found out about the impact of writing has been to experience a stroke. The day after the stroke, I found that I couldn’t read any of the symbols typed on a page. It was gibberish. I rehabbed myself with computer exercises for memory and relationships between symbols and found that vocabularies could be built. I still have lapses or spaces in those patterns, but I continue to exercise my brain and discipline my thoughts so that I can continue to send messages and run dialogues with others. Writings have now become an advanced exercise as I strive to improve my structure of thoughts and focus of messages. Writing impacts the writer’s ideas, emotional reactions and lasting conclusions about things. Words are powerful and that we must never forget! Their impact on both readers and writers are awesome!