Hidden Treasure

Ok, this is going to sound a bit dull to start with but there is something interesting in it. I was tidying up files on my computer last week, (random job, and to be honest more of a timewaster than strictly necessary but it had been driving me crazy having things in random places) when I came across a creative writing folder.

These files, hidden in the depths of my hard drive, had been transferred through not only one but two older computers to finally wash up in the here and now. I knew of the existence of this folder, but I had long forgotten what the contents of it were. Not a huge amount is the answer. Is it any good? Not shabby I reckon, and my voice seems to have carried well.

I found it was mostly transcriptions into digital format, of some of my handwritten poems from when I was a teenager and in my early twenties. I can’t remember exactly my intention for doing this, but being a strictly writing poetry in pencil in a notebook kind of girl, I would have to surmise that it was publication I was looking towards.

There are also a couple of short stories, and an attempt at a blog post (I had forgotten I even knew about blogging until the last couple of years) of a therapeutic nature, long before I started counselling. One of these stories is a very uncanny story about a mother giving birth to twins, which I wrote 5 years before I had my twins – woah!

The other is the same as the story that I am currently trying to coax out of myself into a full on novel, although it is happening very slowly. It has a slightly altered emphasis, and is perhaps a more developed story now with firmer foundations. But that basic concept has been hanging around in my brain for over 10 years! (I really need to get on with it don’t I!?!)

In the years when I didn’t write, when I was busy with work and children, I managed to forget that writing was a part of me, always has been and I think always will. I didn’t give it the priority it deserved. Why has it been so hard for me to recognise until now that writing is a genuine purpose for me to occupy my life?

It amazes me that I hid this part of me from myself for so long. I realise that some of that was the bowing to the perceived expectations of the world around me and my own ideas about how I could live my life. Some of it was about the education that I received and the emphasis on results and achievement. Ultimately I didn’t realise that writing was my ‘treasure’.

Finding these things now have given me certainty and determination in writing, they have validated what I am doing, that it is not ‘wasting’ my time. Eventually, I will be able to craft something substantial. I am allowing creativity to flow in my brain, as opposed to denying access, although getting it out into a concrete form is a little more challenging.

I am seeking out opportunities to learn about writing, sometimes through other people, like the What I’m Writing group, as well as books and of course the good old internet. I am starting to own this as a part of me, in perhaps a way that I needed to discover for myself. I am forging my own path. I am a writer.

I’d be interested to hear about your journey to discovering the writer in you, and how you’ve learned your craft.

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22 Comments Add yours

  1. Hi Alice. I’m glad I’ve found your blog. I’m doing journal since 9 and never stop all throughout my journey. Three years ago I lost my son and writing to him had been my way of connecting and deaaling with the pain until I was able to published my first book.I am now doing my second book and just started the blogging community last month.I had been wanting to write a book many many years ago, when my kids were still very young, I never thought it will turn out this way. I’m so happy I’ve written, it helps a lot on my journey to grieving and to living in general. Thank you and I hope read more from you.

    1. Hi! Firstly, I’m so sorry for your loss, but how wonderful that you have taken your pain and turned it into a positive. I think that happens more than we realise. Thank you for reading.

      1. Yes that is true. Anyway I send you a copy of the book I published after losing my son, (thru your email) and I hope you will find something from it. Although it is a book primarily to send the message about the disease of alcoholism it also includes something about parenting.Thanks again

  2. Oh, gosh I so agree with you. I too am finding my writing feet after pursuing more conventional paths through life. I worried that i had left it too late but I’ve recently read that the late Anita Brookner didn’t publish her fiction until she was in her 50s so there’s hope for me yet!

    1. I think it can never be too late – we always have the ability to do something if we believe we can. We should all live in hope. X

  3. Emily Organ says:

    Yes I have a few of those old folders on our computer, dating back twelve or thirteen years. I cringe when I read a lot of it because it isn’t that good to be honest. But I have to remember it was all part of the journey and if I hadn’t written that (and then realised it wasn’t very good) then I wouldn’t have written what I write now. It all happens for a reason. And how spooky you wrote about giving birth to twins! Finding those old stories, as you say, reminds you that writing is something you’ve always done. And so it is meant to be!

    1. Yes, these ‘treasures’ are part of the journey definitely. I don’t think mine are masterpieces but they do have a certain quality, and I can really see the foundations of now in them. It is a real window to the past and to my inner mind. Fingers crossed, it is meant to be. X

  4. I relate to so much of this – giving up writing and then coming back to it years later – having stories that hang around in my head for years unwritten…. I love discovering old files of things I wrote years ago – I’m always amazed by them, maybe because it feels like they were written by someone else. Hidden treasure describes it perfectly.

    1. I’m not normally dynamite with titles, but that really did seem how it was, an amazing discovery, even though I was aware of their presence. Real treasure. X

  5. maddy@writingbubble says:

    I love the description of writing as your ‘treasure’ and the fact you’re calling yourself a writer! And those old files – what a wonderful discovery! It’s so gratifying to realise that this thing we’re pursuing we’ve kind of always been pursuing somewhere, deep down. and to find that old stuff actually has merit is even better! Writing has been a long-held ambition of mine too, although I didn’t write any fiction at all between the ages of about 20 and 34. It wasn’t until I was pregnant with my third child that I decided I HAD to throw myself back into it. I think it had been calling to me for years but I’d not really been listening. Anyway, you’ve just reminded me of a post I wrote about my teenaged-writer-dreams. You might like it – I’ll tweet you! Thanks for linking to #whatImWriting

  6. Tara Borin says:

    I agree with Maddy, I just love your description of writing as your “treasure!” It’s so wonderful and exciting that you’re (re)discovering this creative part of yourself. I’ve wanted to be a writer since I wrote a little story in grade…4 maybe? And read it to the class and everyone liked it and wanted me to write more. I’ve been writing since: poetry, short stories, blog posts, journalling. I even wrote a birding column for a local paper for a while! But I didn’t really give myself permission to take myself seriously. After having 3 kids in 4 years, I completely lost sight of myself. But through therapy, about a year ago, I realized just how important writing is to me, now more than ever. And in the last year I’ve given myself to it, taking myself seriously as a writer and working towards publishing (and I’ve got my first 2 poems coming out on the 20th!)

    I highly recommend Elizabeth Gilbert’s book “Big Magic”, if you haven’t already read it. It is so inspiring, for living any kind of creative life.

    1. Ah Tara, yes the permission… That is what was missing for me too. I came back to writing via therapy (although more as a continuation and act of becoming self-sufficient emotionally, rather than directly). I finished Big Magic a couple of weeks before I write this, it has definitely helped! Well done with your poems, at the moment my writing is just on my blog or my hard drive, I can’t yet imagine it being ‘proper’! X

  7. Alice it’s amazing how these hidden nuggets of gold have helped you to connect with your true self. Go you! Like you I lost myself when my daughter was small but I rediscovered my passion and purpose and it’s an amazing feeling. My favourite book about creative writing is Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. I completely love this book and although I’m not focussing on creative writing at the moment while I build my business, just dipping in and out of it inspires me. Thanks so much for linking this post up at #sharethejoy honey to inspire others x

    1. Thanks Michelle! I lost myself long ago, so it has been a really slow process, but you are right it is an amazing feeling. I’ll look up that book that you recommend, I trust your instincts! Xx

  8. Tracey @ One Frazzled Mum says:

    I too am trying to write a novel and I love you have found those old files it sounds like they really helped you.I have only recently put my hand to writing mostly flash fiction but looking back over my earlier efforts really helps me to (hopefully) improve on newer efforts

    1. Yes looking back gives you a different perspective to when it’s fresh, but still very valuable, for seeing those improvements to be made. Thanks for reading x

  9. Chrissie says:

    I love looking through my creative ventures, although for me I more often than not look at the “rubbish music I wrote ten years ago” folder and spend and evening thinking what an awesome composer I am then forget about them fo a few months. When I look back on the writing I’ve done that I still have, I can see how much I’ve developed as a writer during that time, how each of the first drafts I’ve written takes more of the craft and hones it, sometimes with success, sometimes not so much. I like seeing how much my real life has crept into the writing as well. It’s good to look back and see how far you’ve come. 🙂

    1. I am amazed at how much I have learned even in these last few months I have been seriously writing again, and how much I am driving myself to learn the craft of writing, I am finding it fascinating. Definitely enjoying the journey. X

  10. I have a folder like this too that I kept peeking back at over the years of not writing. I actually haven’t looked back at it for a while – it would be interesting to see how it reads now I’m almost 200,000 words into properly learning to be a novelist! For me it was definitely motherhood that finally gave me the guts to write, for all sorts of reasons. The next step on my journey has to be getting my work ‘out there’ – beyond just talking about it endlessly on my blog! That bit seems considerably more scary at the moment, but I have to keep reminding myself that it was only about three years ago that writing itself still seemed terrifying – I’m sure I’ll get there in the end… xx

    1. Yes that next step…I can understand the fear. I’m trying to ignore it for now so it doesn’t cripple me, but I wish you lots of luck in making that step forward. Xx

  11. I can definitely relate to this, Alice! Writing is a part of me, and while a few years ago I was reluctant to get it out there, I now just let it flow. You’re definitely not wasting your time. Like any skill, writing takes time to hone, and you can only do that by knuckling down and writing. Lovely post xx #sharethejoy

    1. Well done Leigh for letting it flow. Sometimes my writing seems hard to draw out and I’m trying to let it flow much more. Practice, practice, practice… Thank you. Xx

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