Friday, August 10, 2007

A writer who really doesn’t aim to be one

When my younger daughter was enrolled in the creative writing program at a public arts school, she frequently told me she liked to write but she had no intentions of becoming a writer. I told her, “Too late.” I told her a writer writes because she does it, not because she really intends to do it. My daughter really wants to be a musician. She writes songs and lyrics. She’s won awards, not just for writing but for a song she wrote. She's performed in front of audiences. What astounded her father and me was her calm approach. She seemed perfectly at ease on stage. So I am indeed a proud mom, because she did those things on her own. I found out about her first award when I read her name in the newspaper.

That isn’t to say we didn’t nurture her. I read to her from the moment she opened her eyes. Her dad plays the guitar every day, often sitting in front of the TV, an in-home studio musician for whoever’s playing. Becky wanted to take guitar, so we bought her a guitar and paid for the lessons. “The first time I have to ask you to practice,” I said, “we don’t pay for lessons anymore.” She’d go to her room and close the door each day to practice. Sometimes, we’d have to remind her to come eat dinner. That’s how I knew she took her work seriously. Her desk is filled with notebooks containing music scores and lyrics. She’s a walking encyclopedia, just like her dad, on music past and present.

We’ve had many conversations about her music goals. She worries about making money. I told her not to worry about the money. “Worry about the art—work on that part.” I told her she could worry about the money when she graduates from college and looks for a job. She’ll enter college in a couple weeks, where she'll major in digital-multimedia. We figure she can find a good job that way, but she can also use those skills in her music career. With the opportunities offered by technology, we figure that's a good major for any budding artist.

A few days ago she told me she was starting a blog. In no time, with very little assistance, she had it up and rolling. Then she told me, “Now I don’t know what to write. I don’t have any ideas.”

“So start with that,” I told her. “You get writer’s block, write about that, and once the pen gets going you’ll find yourself writing something.”

It worked, even for a writer who doesn’t intend to be one, even for a writer who's a determined and talented musician.

Visit Becky’s blog, A Musician's Notes.

1 comment:

Jamie Morris said...


I just want to let you know that I got started as a writer in my early 20s writing songs and playing bass in a 1980s band.

I kept writing lyrics/songs long after my band had hit the dust. By my mid-30s, I was writing and performing poetry and spoken word stuff in Seattle.

By 45, I had a writing degree and was leading my own creative writing workshops. Now, at 50, I'm a book-writing coach and a free-lance editor.

You're right to tell your daughter that we write because we find that we have written!

Hugs to you!