28 05

WJI 2021, Day 9 PM - Why Are You Writing This?

I set my alarm a whole 45 minutes later this morning. Pure bliss. It went off at 9. Pure agony. I honestly think my spirit might have left my body when I got out of bed. Everything felt extremely disoriented and shaky. I showered and got ready for the day and whatever mystery church we were going to this morning.

It is still, in fact, a mystery church, because I can only remember a few facts about it. The name of the church did not make that short list. The fact that they served ice cream on the way out the door was a pleasant surprise. I think my taste buds were also pretty surprised to taste something so cold and sweet as their first meal of the day. I may as well try and keep them on their toes like WJI has kept me on mine.

The past week has been full of last minute changes and stressful evenings pouring over my writing realizing I am not half as good as I thought I was. It has also been full of growth. Lots of growth. I have never taken a journalism class. I didn’t even know there was a journalistic style. I thought (on some hidden level that I would have never admitted) that I was going to saunter in a good writer, be congratulated for it, and saunter out a great one.

I was wrong.

Susan Olasky and Russ Pulliam’s edits made me question basically my whole way of writing. “Why are you writing this? What’s the point?” These really should not be earth shattering questions, but for me they were. I thought I had made everything so clear in my perfect little first drafts. Wrong. Their questions made me look deeper at not only my writing, but myself and my subject. Who was I talking about? Who are they really? “What makes them tick?” This question haunted me. It also made me a better thinker, question asker, and, by extension, a better writer.

These are all the things I looked over this morning after church. I meant to edit more, but I ended up just staring at the notes left in their margins and marveling at how much my writing has changed in just a few days. I still write like me, but my motives are different. I don’t just want a story. I want a face. I want a “why.” And, of course, there is significantly more “frolicking” and “clomping” in my everyday vocabulary and significantly less in my writing.

-Chloe Hendon