The 4th November is fast approaching.
And, I hear you say?
I’ll always remember this date because, well before it became our wedding anniversary, when I was in primary school, I was asked to enter an essay competition on the subject: “The significance of the 4th November today”.
In a nutshell, November 4th, 1918 marked the end of World War I for Europe, although I hope I managed to write something a bit better than that in my essay!
Surprisingly, in our school year, my essay was the winning one. I must have only been 9 or 10, and I wasn’t expecting to win, but that was probably the first time someone said I was good at writing.
But there have other signs all along that tell me I’ve always been into writing.
- I am a language geek
And always have been. Growing up in Italy, a lot of the homework that we were asked to do in primary school was around grammatical and logical analysis. So, we’d grab a paragraph and analyse all the words (articles, adjectives, adverbs, verbs etc.) with all their characteristics (singular, plural, masculine, feminine, active, passive etc.). Or when it came to logical analysis we’d have to highlight the subject in a sentence, the object etc. Either you’re a language geek or you’d hate that! Most people obviously hated it. Me? I LOVED it! To the point that when the teacher asked us to work on a paragraph, I’d just carry on and do the whole story. Boy, I was NOT popular with my classmates! (Actually, I was in that everyone was phoning me up in the afternoon so I could literally read my homework out to them!)
- I wanted to write a mystery novel
In my early teens I started reading mystery novels for children and could go through a whole book in a couple of days. Soooo many times I started writing my own novel but never went very far with an idea. Only recently I was talking to my husband and asked him what stories he’d tried to write when he was younger, and he looked at me like I was an alien. It turns out not everyone started writing a novel when they were children?!? Who knew?
- When I was a teenager I badly wanted a pen pal
Do you remember an age when people used to write letters to each other, and nice letter paper was a thing you’d give as a present at birthdays? No? Am I showing my age here? Right, swiftly moving on… Such time existed for me, and I loved keeping up with friends I used to meet on holidays, but I wanted more people to write to. So my parents let me place an ad in a teenage-type girly magazine to look for a pen pal, and within days I started receiving tons of letters a day! I remember going through all these letters with my parents to decide which ones I was going to pick as my pen pals. What a geek!
- I learn by making notes
At university my way of going through books and books for exams would be to read them once, highlight the important bits, go over it a second time and make my own notes from the book. Obviously that was a long-ish process, but once I made me notes I remembered what I had written. All I had to do was to read my own notes once or twice before the exam, and it’d be fresh in my memory. It turns out my notes must have been clear enough because my friends started using them as well and passing exams with them, and it wasn’t before long that random people started stopping me on campus thanking me for the notes that helped them pass the exams. I could have had a business back then and didn’t know it!
- I ‘listen’ by making notes
Fast forward a few years and even at work, in meetings at etc. making notes and writing things down is my way of paying attention. If I don’t write anything down I start daydreaming, and therefore I miss chunks of conversations. Most of the time, once I’ve written something down, I don’t even go back to it. It’s there, printed in my memory. I’ve got it.
- I keep up in life by writing things down
Once again, it’s only just dawned on me that not everyone writes things down. Not everyone is obsessed with to-do lists and ticking / crossing things off. Well, of course I am. Something that isn’t written down is a fleeting thought and will be lost. It might come back, but what guarantee do I have it will come back by the right deadline? It has to be written down. And mind you, I hardly check my lists again – once it’s on it, I remember it. Odd.
- I was always told my documents were good
When I first moved to the UK from Italy, I started working in the Correspondence department of a large Telecoms company. I mean, me? The English-is-not-even-my-first-language girl gets a gig writing letters back to irate customers? Could I be good enough? It turned out that I was, and 2 years later I moved into a Business Analyst position, which (among other things) involves documenting business requirements, so that your IT department can deliver a product that essentially does what you want it to be. (Well, there’s a bit more science to it, but it’ll do for now). So it’s important to write clear docs, right? The leg work of getting to know what to write is probably the essence of the work, but I was known for saying: “Once I know what to write, I can turn it around very quickly”. And I started to get a bit of a reputation for turning things around in a day or two. Writing just comes easy to me.
- I am obsessed with stationery
What does stationary have to do with it? I’m told it’s a trait a lot of people who enjoy writing have, actually. I’ve been able to keep this at bay in the last few years, because aside from being obsessed with all things stationary related, I also hate clutter, and after a while things that never get used start to really annoy me. But… if you happen to go to a stationary shop with me make sure that 1) you have time and patience, and 2) if you are my friend, take my credit card away from me please! Pens, notebooks, diaries… I’d buy the whole shop!
- I really do enjoy blogging!
I had no idea about this until a couple of years ago, but when I started writing the odd blog for others or sharing some thoughts at work on the company intranet, I was always complimented on my writing. Another odd one, I thought. In time, the idea of starting a blog became a plan and now that it’s a reality, I just know I love writing!
So I’m into writing.
I should have worked this one out a good while ago, but I just have.
What about you? Do you recognise yourself in any of these traits?