Hidden Art of Homemaking: Writing

This week’s chapter for the Hidden Art of Homemaking book club is on writing. Well, here, my efforts in this vein are not very hidden at all.

I love to write because I love to play with words. I love to be able to express myself articulately, and writing is the only way that happens. My tongue is not nearly so sharp as my pen keyboard.

For anyone who becomes confused in conversation, who gets rattled when eyes are upon him or when someone butts in, writing and outlining his ideas enables him to explain what he wants to say so much more easily, and enables the other people to know him, the real person who has disappeared behind the wall of incoherence.

paperless digital organization

Yes, that is me, and that is why I write. In fact, I have been known to not only write to myself to help straighten out my thoughts, but even to compose letters to my husband when I have felt that I didn’t communicate my meaning in conversation (probably because of my tendency to start crying when I have something I really want to say).

My writing is the thesis-oriented variety: craft a concise thesis that says exactly what you want it to say, then develop that thesis without veering off-track. Of course there is the joy of discovering the sentences that simply come while in a writing flow, but primarily the joy of writing for me is in the exposition mode. I am not a story-teller with a gift for narrative. I am an essayist.

However, this chapter with its emphasis on letter-writing not only has me feeling bad about my bad letter-writing habits, but also has me sighing about my lack of being a family chronicler, for all the writing that I do and enjoy.

One thing that has kept me back from the basic diary or journalling is that, because it’s not something I do regularly or want to do everyday, the bits I might do end up scattered in notebooks hither and yon, unorganized, mostly boring. Who will ever want to read through notebooks full of scraps to find a few gems?

paperless digital journal

But now with my digital organization going on, writing is corralled, organization is as easy as a click, culling is simple, search functions make the records actually useful, and I already have the form set up for a “daily review” notebook I’m trying to make it a habit to use every day. So, I have a place now where I could collect little narrative tidbits of our days, random thoughts that strike me, as well as my never-ending list-making – a place that doesn’t get lost and that doesn’t get bulky and that doesn’t make me wince with uneven scrawls and scratchings.

So I would like to start journalling – as record-keeping, as free-form word-play that doesn’t need to be seen or published, as a creative outlet that might or might not end up being for public or private consumption. After all, all writers who have anything to say about writing say that writers are supposed to write daily. I do not daily have a blog-post-worthy thesis, but I do have a daily list, a daily thought, a daily happening that I can jot down, play with, and save in the recesses of Evernote, to be drawn upon if the need or desire arises.

Writing does not have to be published to be a creative outlet. That is Mrs. Schaeffer’s message. Whether it is a letter to a friend that will, in all likelihood, be lost to posterity, or whether it’s a diary or journal that no one will ever bother to look through, it’s the expression of oneself with words that counts. And words are available for us all, even those who do not blog or write to be published or write to be heard and read. It is still a creative outlet open for dabblers, in a variety of forms that will help you develop yourself, even if no one ever reads a word you write.

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  1. I like your style of essay writing and it is a nice complement to a more narrative style.

    I am trying to use Evernote more but right now I am too busy to even read about it but I hope to buy your system when I do settle down.

  2. I am also an essayist, and find it difficult to write in any other style – I’m not a storyteller blogger or poet. Lately, I’ve been frustrated that I’ve not been able to write anything of substance because I haven’t been feeling well. Thank you for the reminder that writing does not have to be read or published to still enjoy the process.

  3. “My tongue is not nearly so sharp as my keyboard.”
    Ha! I am afraid that I can relate to that!

    And I kind of think that Mrs. Schaeffer would feel that there is as much value in using your gift for communication through expository writing as in other forms.

  4. I’m running late with this chapter due to company but definitely didn’t want to miss it.

    In real-life conversation I tend to get tongue-tied or else think of something applicable after the conversation has moved on. Writing helps me think things through much better.

    I was just wondering if there was some kind of application for journaling like you described: I will have to check it out!

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