On Writing

At the end of a recent interview on our local Athens station I was asked what my future hope was for my music.  The interviewer mentioned that I have had some success with touring and recording, and he asked if this was the big goal.


I said, "I just want to keep writing, I want to be a better writer, I love writing.”


In an interview things just come out when you don't have time to think about what you're going to say.  Afterwards it got me thinking about all the things I could have said such as I want to collaborate more, lead more songwriting workshops with kids, play music in the other 31 states I didn’t play last year, record a new album...


But really, at the heart of it all, I want to write.



I was 7 when I got my first journal, and I have kept a journal ever since.  There is this box of about 60 journals that my parents kindly allow me to store in the corner of their garage.  Everything else I own fits in my van, but I have hung on to these books.
My friend Joe recently asked me if I'm always writing.  We were out on a hike when he asked me this and I compared my writing process to hiking.


Sometimes you hike a new trail and there are surprises around every corner.  The sun is perfectly reflecting on a rushing waterfall sending those shadows of light dancing on the sandstone overhang.  You see your first Spring Beauties of the year. A Hooded Warbler lands on a branch just feet away from you. A Fence Lizard is laying eggs in the middle of the trail.  You are full of life and wonder for days after your hike. Everything seems alive and possible.


Then sometimes it's raining and cold.  Sometimes you don't want to hike at all.  But just maybe you go anyways. You see one lone Crow ducking away in a Spuce tree.  Your shoes get soaked to the sock while crossing a creek.


Sometimes the hike is hard going.  The trail is steep and muddy. Sometimes it's too easy and there is no challenge.
Sometimes you get to the top of a hill and can see for miles and miles.  Sometimes you get to the top of a hill and can't see anything except a thick overgrowth of underbrush.


If you love to hike then none of the outcome matters.  You cherish your time outside. You know that you'll be better off for going hiking than staying on the couch all day.  You may not see a new bird or take in a heart-racing view, but you will feel calmer. You'll feel fulfilled. You'll be thankful for the peaks of excitement, and you won't be regretful for the hike that was just a simple hike.  In fact you'll learn something from every hike.


That's how I feel about writing.  I write every day. Sometimes I just can't seem to stop writing.  Sometimes I can't seem to start, but I'll try to write something down.  Sometimes it's a quote, a song, a detailed description of some daily observation, or a rant to help me let go of something .  Sometimes ideas strike me when I'm out and I scribble in my pocket journal or in the notes section of my phone. Sometimes I write long letters to friends in other states.  Sometimes I write lists of what I'm thankful for. Sometimes I write a blog.


I love to write and the outcome is not as important as the process.  Just going to the page is a reward in itself. I always learn something.


So go ahead.  Go for a hike, write in your journal, or do whatever it is you love.  Don't put pressure on yourself to make it perfect. Just go. Some days it will rain, snow, sleet, hail, or spill over with sunshine.  There may be something beautiful just outside that door. You won't know until you go look.