September 30, 2012

Unsurprising Surprises

Since my early college days until pretty much now I've encountered people who have been surprised that I can write. This baffles me because I've always loved it, but the more I think about it the more it makes sense that people would react with surprise in finding out I can write decently well.

The first reason, which is the one I'm least willing to admit to myself, is that writing is still considered an art form, and when people say they're artists we just kind of assume they like to paint on the balcony but only their mothers think they're any good. Even though I tend to look at writing in a more scientific way, doing diligent research and having a well thought out plan, it is therapeutic (that's how it all started), and is an expression of myself. That I happen to be able to apply those skills to be useful to other people is the surprising part.

The other reason may be because I'm a girl (damn, I'm turning 27 in a few days... maybe I should start calling myself a woman). Women and girls are still, and probably will always be, considered far more emotional than rational, and when doing any sort of art or subjective work, like writing, we assume that emotional side will come through. I'm not exempt from this: when other women tell me they're artists or designers or something I go "well that makes sense" (though when I meet other women writers I don't have that immediate thought... strange?). This blog, since it's mine and I can do whatever I want with it, gets emotional. But my life is going to be emotional and when you tend to write about your life that'll show through. But like half the time, or maybe even more, I write about things that are going on that affect other people or animals. Sure I'm stepping in with my opinion, but again, this is my blog, so that's allowed. 

When I was starting my internship back in college I asked the editor if I could write an article for publication. It took me a few months to convince her, partially because it was for a parenting magazine and I clearly had nothing to contribute to that, but also because it was a magazine that was well respected and widely read, and they obviously needed to make sure the content in it was useful and appropriate. How much could they really expect from a young, childless intern? However, when I finally submitted my first article the feedback I got from the editor was "You can write really well. I had no idea." Damn I was proud. They let me write a handful of other articles, which were obviously edited a little for tone and audience, but still, I got published. 

Recently I was told something similar by two coworkers. One told me he'd seen this blog and knew that I was a capable writer and that the client of his I'd be taking over would be in good hands as far as the blog writing went. I was pretty pleased to hear that from a colleague. Just over a week ago another coworker said almost the same thing: he hadn't originally voted for me to join the  team, preferring another candidate, but after working with me the last two months and seeing my abilities, writing included, said I'd proven myself and he was glad I was part of the team.

While I feel like these little surprises others feel shouldn't be surprises at all, I also feel glad that they've come to those conclusions about my writing. It's something I love to do, take pretty seriously, and is supporting me (less so now, but still). I would hate to learn the oposite, though I doubt anyone would actually come up to say that to me, so hearing that I'm surprisingly good at writing is always nice to hear, even if I don't think it's surprising.

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