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Today's blog
I start to write a blog and within a few minutes, I have a blob. My brain goes dead, and I can't think of anything to write. Writing is sometimes painful... so why do it?

Well, pull out a stark white sheet of paper. Now, pick up an old-fashioned fountain pen. (A little preparation is worth the effort.) Feel the smooth, cool metal against your fingers. Now write the first word that comes into your mind. Congratulations, you've taken the first step to being a writer.

Or, you might open a new file on your laptop with a blank white page staring back at you. Put your fingers on the keys and type that first word. Either method works.

Why do I write? I write to inform, to make others feel better, to teach; I write as a catharsis, because it provides a way to know what I'm thinking, to make people laugh or think, or maybe even to cry. Just to put the words in my head down where I can see them may help solve a problem, or at least conceptualize what the problem is.

Writing is like music. It has its own rhythm, and once you start writing or typing, one word just naturally follow the other, rolling out of your head almost faster than you can catch them.

Anyone can write, and everyone should. But here's a little secret I learned while studying how to teach children to write. Have you ever noticed how even babies want to write on a new piece of paper. This continues right on up to entrance into school. Then, have you noticed how a child in kindergarten or first grade gets excited about his or her Big Chief tablet and No. 2 pencil, all ready to put those things running through little minds down on paper.

After a short while of learning letters and numbers, and learning to spell a few words by sight, they are allowed to write a story. Excitement bubbles through little minds until they almost can't stand it. Now they can tell their own stories.

Have you noticed when they bring those first papers home, there are big red circles around places where punctuation is misplaced or missing altogether, and misspelled words have more bright red circles around them. Pretty soon, when the child begins to write, instead of letting his imagination go and just writing as the words come out, he stops and asks, "Mom, does a comma go here?" "How to you spell...?" And all spontaneity is lost. Another writer-to-be soon discouraged, and then maybe lost.

When our granddaughter was 5 or 6, she wanted to write. I was livid when I saw red marks on her school papers. Red -- the color of blood, which is often what we sweat before we put ourselves on exhibition for the world to see. So I bought her a journal on the condition she write something every day. She loved it, but ever so often she would stop and ask, "Mimi, does a comma go here," or "Did I spell this right?" I told her,"You just write what you want to say without worrying about commas or spelling. You're going to learn that, but right now, just for Mimi, I want you to write in your 6-year-old voice."

She may not be a writer today, but she's 26 years old, and she knows how to write just fine. She's a wife, mother of 19-month-old twins, and is working her way through college. And both her writing and her grades are just outstanding.

Write to get the words out, to put the thoughts on paper where you can see what you're thinking. Write to see what word is going to be next and see what it looks like when you finish. Let someone else read it, and if you are comfortable, ask them to critique it. Who knows you may write the next best seller. Then again, maybe not, but who cares. It's great therapy. Try it; you may just find a talent you didn't know you had. Whatever you do, I wish you the best of luck. Now... go write something.
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