Ten years ago this month, I started this blog. It was more of an experiment to see if I could keep my creative mojo around after one of my more rather alarming dry spells than anything else. The idea was that I’d make it a record of things I made, but somehow, keeping the record became yet another creative outlet for me.
Within a year this blog, which I was slow to share with anyone, had led to my first writing job – a wine column for a now defunct local monthly cooking publication. It paid in wine, which given my lack of experience in writing anything as well as my getting hired specifically because I couldn’t pull off wine speak, seemed like an excellent compensation.
I was working at a local non-profit at the time and when I was suddenly laid off due to budget cuts as a result of reduced government spending, some of my co-workers gave me a pink leather notebook as a parting gift. They felt strongly it seemed, that I was being sent out into the world to write more and this notebook would serve me well.
At the time, I was quite touched with their faith in me, but I wasn’t entirely sure how I’d live up to their expectations. Turns out, they were quite prescient, because next thing I knew, I was asked to write for some special editions of a local alt-weekly. With my trusty pink notebook in hand, I set out to be a real writer.
In the years that followed, every interview I’ve conducted for assignments from local publications has had notes scribbled down in that book. It’s been with me almost everywhere I go, a fixture in my bag. It’s covered PTO meetings in a pinch, held flyers, cards and business receipts. I’ve opened it up to conduct interviews and had all sorts of things fly out of it in what was probably most definitely not a favorable impression upon my editor standing there.
It’s been almost 8 years since I first wrote in that book full of blank pages. I conducted an interview last week for an assignment and when I sat down to write a rough draft in the days that followed, I realized the number of blank pages left are few – at best, I have one short interview left in my pink notebook. It somehow seems fitting that this happened just as I had begun filling other notebooks with other more ambitious writing projects. I’ve struggled in recent years with a bit of writer’s block, but I’ve come out of that in the last few weeks with an itch to write. And as such, I’ve got a number of projects in various stages, including some things I am putting proposals together for, which is new and exciting while also scary. You know, that fear of rejection. Having never actually had to write a pitch, it’s new territory for me.
But when I look at my pink notebook, I am reminded how just sitting down and writing was new territory for me once upon a time. That pink notebook is so much more than just a notebook. It’s a symbol of what I can accomplish, particularly when I’m not sure how to proceed. It may have been my first writer’s notebook, but it’s definitely not my last.