Monday 30 October 2017

On Writing

By Kristine Sihto

“Once upon a time, there was a girl. That girl dreamed of being a writer…”

I have always liked words. As a child, I had a stammer. Not enough for my parents to ever worry, but enough for me to hear my own voice and feel constantly ashamed. It was different when I wrote. On paper, there was no hesitation. No repeated consonants at the beginning of a word, no grasping for words that would never come to my lips – I could be eloquent and graceful and smart on the page.

When I was introduced to poetry in high school, I flourished. Adding deliberate structure into those words was like a dance. I could craft my words to mimic the ebbs and flows of water or the crackling flames of fire, use sibilance to sigh the wind’s whispers or rhythm to push the beat of a heart. I knew that I wanted to write. There was never an inkling that I would become a technical writer, however. Facts, I thought, were dull and dry; I wanted to be Tolkien or Blyton. I wanted to be Blake or Wright or Cummings. I wanted to fill the world with rhythm and language that would turn the head and speak to the heart.

It turns out that writing is hard without motivation. It takes effort and commitment to get up and write thousands of words a day with no solid incentive.
The drive that I maintained as a teen to write every day was slowly eroded by rejection letters and competing priorities, like dishwashing and children and television. The works-in-progress piled up as new ideas were born before the old ones had reached completion, and suddenly I was in my 40s and still dreaming that someday I would be a writer.
My break back into writing was a series of lucky events. A chance conversation put me into a professional editing role, and a few years later, another chance conversation found me in a technical writer’s position, in an industry I’d never considered before. That industry is Information Security.
Older eyes see that while there is a hazy, elusive value in the work that I dreamed of in my younger days, being able to explain facts on paper has solid worth. We communicate in written words: in policy, in reports, in emails, over the Internet. Clarity is essential.
I used to say that I could write anything I could understand. My role as a technical writer has forced me to revisit that idea. I research as I write, and often, as I am writing about something, I am learning it for the first time. It is poetry again, fitting concepts that are new to me into the structure of sentences, identifying the nouns and verbs and adjectives and making them flow in meaningful ways. I now see that I can understand anything that I can write. I no longer need to feel I can speak to the heart, so long as the head hears me.

About the author - Kristine Sihto has been writing intermittently over the past three decades. Most recently, she has found joy in technical writing for Alcorn Security Group. Kristine has plans to self-publish a book of poetry in 2018

(c) AWSN 2017

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any agency, organisation or association.

No comments:

Post a Comment