Every two weeks or so, someone asks me if I am still writing. Many are surprised when I answer “yes. " While most people admire my persistence, some think the time has come for me to retire. “You have been successful, " a friend commented, “and now you can rest. "
My friend was looking at writing from her perspective - not mine - for I have no intention of resting. When I signed up for the Writer's Run I signed up for a life-long event. The Writers’ Run takes me to new and surprising places. Sometimes my pace quickens, sometimes it slows, yet I am still in the race. Why do I keep on writing?
I LOVE TO WRITE. Words have always fascinated me. There is nothing as exciting as starting a new article or book. I love everything about writing: finding topics, the planning process, working with editors, making revisions, and marketing. It took years and a career change for me to realize I am happiest when writing.
WRITING IS MENTAL EXERCISE. Writing requires thought, language skills, and decision-making. The Writers’ Run forces me to keep moving, stay current, and learn new skills. I write every day. According to recent medical studies we need to exercise our minds in order to stay sharp. Writing does that for me.
THE RULES ARE CLEAR. Work is easier when you know the rules. Writing has clear rules. I have to write short query letters, book proposals with strong platforms, turn out quality work, and format my work according to industry standards. Thanks to years of experience I understand the rules and can make them work for me.
LURE OF SUBJECTS. Health topics are exciting to write about and I feel like I am helping others. Today's hot topics include obesity, heart disease, cancer, depression, nutrition, physical activity, bullying, child safety, Alzheimer's, eldercare, and more. Some of my writing ideas, like my daily walking program, come from my own health needs.
WISDOM OF EXPERIENCE. Having more candles on my birthday cake does not mean I have given up on life. In fact, I have more things to write about than when I was younger. Writing gives me the chance to share ideas, information, and the wisdom that comes with experience.
WRITING IS MOBILE. Robert Frost did not have a computer and wrote all of his poems in longhand. Though I prefer to write on a computer I can follow Frost's example. I always have a pen and pad with me and have written poetry on airplanes and jotted down conversation in restaurants. The beauty of writing is that I can write any time, any where.
I can write as long as my mind works. Though my shoes are a bit worn I am still in the Writers’ Race. So far, it has been a great run, and I am looking forward to the trails ahead.
Copyright 2007 by Harriet Hodgson
Harriet Hodgson has been a freelance nonfiction writer for 28 years. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists and the Association for Death Education and Counseling. Her 24th book, “Smiling Through Your Tears: Anticipating Grief, " written with Lois Krahn, MD, is available from http://www.amazon.com . A five-star review of the book is posted on Amazon. You will find another review on the American Hospice Foundation Web site under the “School Corner" heading.