Why do I write?

Why do I write?  Because I can’t help myself.  I need to let out the thoughts and whitterings that run around my mind.  As Sylvia Plath said:

“I write only because
There is a voice within me
That will not be still”

I am a restless soul with a mind like a mad chirping bird that flits from one thing to another.  I try to calm my mind, to focus on one thing but its a struggle. Mental multi-tasking would be my super-hero quality but …. and its a big BUT when I have written, be it in a diary or on my blog, especially when I write from the heart my busy mind is calm.

I think the process of writing makes me focus on one thing, banishing other thoughts away, and sometimes I let it help me sort through tangled thoughts and muddled priorities.  I often don’t publish my most heart-felt ramblings but the act of writing them down is sufficient.

What do I write about, well mainly my garden and gardening but I want to explore other types of writing.  I write a lot at work as well but these are reports so a different style of writing, very concise and dry – my mind flits a lot when I do this writing.

I started blogging because I wanted to connect with other gardeners and to be honest with gardeners more of my generation than the older generation that inhabits most garden clubs.  I wanted to find people who were plant addicts, who got excited when the seeds for some unusual or difficult plant germinated.  I have been writing this blog for over 8 years and it has held me in good stead.  It has provided me with a rock during times of extreme difficulty, a safe place where I could forget for a while the troubles and tribulations that were assaulting my being.  It has allowed me to see places and become involved in events that I would never had been able to without the virtual connections I have made. Writing has enabled me to draw out the real me.  A me that had lost its self-belief and confidence after a difficult and abusive marriage and other equally destructive relationships.  A me that felt guilty for being a single parent, a me worried about how society judged me, a me frightened of my own shadow.  Through this blog I have learnt to trust my instincts, to listen to my heart rather than my head and to believe in myself.  It has given me confidence and self-esteem.

But (yes another but) I feel a need to improve my writing, maybe to develop it, I don’t know.  My life is going through significant changes both at home and at work, it has led to a surge of tidying up, obviously due to a need to be in some sort of control, sorting out of cupboards, drawers etc and I think my mind.  I feel as though I am exiting from a grey oppressive place that I have inhabited more on than off,  I feel as though I am beginning to like myself, to accept myself and not feel as though I need to apologise so much for just being…well me. Liking yourself is not always an easy thing to do.

So as part of this unintended tidying up, sorting out, improving I signed up to Writing 101 (and Blogging 101) hence this post – my first assignment.  Apologies for regular gardening fans but the blog may go a little off-piste over the coming days but who knows you may enjoy it.  I hope I do.

 

 

 

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22 Comments Add yours

  1. Julieanne says:

    I can relate to much of what you say here about writing and reaching out and connecting to others. I’ve found the online gardening community and the off shoots of that, to be very rewarding.

    To be honest, I already think you write very well. You are an engaging writer, including useful detail and commentary on plants, gardens and gardening. I joined the HPS because of something you wrote, and many of your posts have given me useful information that I’ve been able to follow up on. So yes, I think you are a good writer and you have a positive impact.

    But, there’s the but, I do understand the desire to want to improve. It’s great that you are exploring your writing further and I look forward to reading your off-piste posts soon. Good luck with it all Helen, and enjoy.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Thanks Julieanne and its great to know that you have found things I have written helpful. I suspect the word ‘improve’ is too worthy and doesnt really describe my intention. I suspect I want to be challenged a little and see where it takes me. I have been a bit bored of late with my blog so hopefully it will reignite something or maybe lead me to something different

  2. Good for you Helen…I started my second blog to write more and explore my writing…I also write for myself and to help process through my life. And I clear the clutter and tidy as I find I need to make room for changes in my life. I look forward to reading more of your wonderful writing. I am commenting from my other blog, Living From Happiness….not my garden blog, GardensEyeView. Stop by anytime.

  3. Julie says:

    Helen, I see Donna has just commented, I read both of her blogs, they are very different to each other and explore deeper topics than I would normally discuss on any gardening blog which makes a refreshing change. Glad to read you are in a new phase of your life and whatever you choose to write I look forward to reading it.

  4. Gillian says:

    Brilliant Helen. I hope you enjoy 101. I have just done it again and found it very useful. It certainly got me thinking. If we wanted to write we would just write. But we blog and that’s a little different. There are things that we know that can help others. If we share the information then everyone benefits. I decided that it’s just crazy to keep all that knowledge my head and photos in an album. What good are they there? In my opinion you are already a very likeable person. You are creative with lots of ideas and what’s more you have staying power. (you said it yourself in the post!) What’s not to like? Have fun.

  5. Welcome to Writing 101 Helen, looking forward to journey with you in this new phase of your life. You are indeed a very good writer 🙂

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Thanks SPP

    2. rogerbrook says:

      Writing blogs is so addictive Helen and for me it is so tempting to stray away from gardening!
      You were a bit hard on the older generation of gardeners – but having lectured to many gardening clubs I know what you mean!

  6. pamecrement says:

    I just stopped by to check out your blog and wanted to let you know I really enjoy your writing style, your openness and the “look” of the site as a whole. My parents were both great gardeners, but somehow I missed out on that gift despite appreciating it!

  7. One of the things that I like about your blog is that you do show us other things like your textiles. I used to write a newpaper column and I find the longer I’m blogging, the shorter and more casual my writing has become. So I will be intersted to hear about your process and assignments. You post often and write clearly about plants and design in your own garden, and you do an especially nice job of looking at gardens you visit.

  8. I agree with your other commenters, Helen, that you are a wonderful writer. I am of the older generation (although I don’t belong to a garden club) and many years ago I experienced some of the difficulties you are facing now. I empathize with your loss of confidence and self worth that happens after suffering an abusive relationship and broken marriage. But I came through it stronger and very confident, due in part to gardening and writing. Finding a soul mate (to whom I have been married 27 years) certainly helped too. So keep up with the writing and expand your horizons. I’m sure you, like me, will find peace and be able to look back on your life with no regrets. P. x

  9. Matt @ Garden59 says:

    I also think you write really well, Helen – I always enjoy reading your blog and I’ll look forward to the 101 posts too.

  10. Donna says:

    I just wanted to add that I agree with what’s already been said about how good a writer you are Helen. I also wanted to say that I am one of those people who could NEVER EVER write a blog (total dedication, energy and boundless creativity = exhausting) or engage with the whole wide world in the way that you (so beautifully) do with your writing. You are an amazingly talented writer and your ‘chirping’ mind is always a pleasure to read and very informative. I’m so pleased that you now wish to stretch yourself even further and shall look forward to the fruits of your latest linguistic adventure 🙂

  11. Diana Studer says:

    TBH I prefer blogs written by gardeners whose life extends beyond their garden.
    I look forward to following where you blog goes.
    And I’ve always enjoyed your thoughtful reviews of the gardens you visit.

  12. Yvonne Ryan says:

    Ditto ditto to all of the above. My first marriage was abusive also and took a long time to realize yes I was attractive, not fat, did have a personality and didn’t need to be ‘second fiddle’! Gardening has always been an antidote for when feeling down.My second husband was very supportive but didn’t actually compliment me and we lost all our money even tho’ he was a banker! I am now going thru’ feelings of anger as after he died i have ended up with a tiny amount of savings, no furniture as was given away to Hospice etc as the little apartment I have was furnished. shedding things is not always easy! I left a lovely cottage garden although had 300 pots which I moved in a furniture truck! My no3 daughter has quite a few including palms but many have now crept home to me. It will be another nightmare if I have to give up my Tropical Paradise! Once a plantaholic always a plantaholic. I have found a lovely man for company and I am enjoying all the lovely compliments. It has taken 76 years to accept that yes I am attractive tho’ wrinkly and saggy! Never too late to be naughty! I love your whitterings so good luck with your course. Not sure what you will learn as your writing is so great!! xxY

  13. Jim Stephens says:

    I just read an article by Joan L Bolker which seemed to me might address some of the points you make. Looking it up online I found this page http://connection.ebscohost.com/c/articles/9411302475/room-ones-own-not-enough
    I haven’t tried to access it.

  14. Well done Helen…as others have said,you are already an engaging writer.That’s why I keep returning to your blog. Dare I admit to being an ‘older gardener,'(member of HPS , CGS)….at least past retirement age,although in my mind I am at least 20 years younger!

  15. Blogging in and of itself will help you improve your writing, just simply because it gives you somewhere to write other than work and for different reasons.

  16. brianderrick says:

    I appreciate your candor, openness, and writing! Thanks for sharing.

  17. Happymouffetard says:

    I don’t have much time to visit and comment on blogs at the moment, so I haven’t visited yours for a while. However, this post really drew me in. You write in a beautiful, heartfelt way and I look forward to reading more as you develop through this exercise.

  18. Cathy says:

    Another of your posts right from the heart, Helen – thanks for sharing so honestly. I suspect many of us bloggers share this ‘need’ to write – probably why my posts have become longer and take longer to write too due to my desire to use ‘the right words in the right order’. You will enjoy this course

  19. bittster says:

    It’s polite of you to apologize for going ‘off topic’, but it is and will always be your blog and no apologies are necessary. If I just wanted to hear about gardening I could always pick up a book, I read blogs for the personal side as well and I always appreciate your viewpoint. Looking forward to many more well written posts!

Please feel free to leave comments as its always lovely to get feedback. I try to respond to comments as much as possible but sometimes life and work get in the way but I will do my best to respond especially if your comment is a question.

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