You know you love writing when you don’t have to keep it

Aloha kaua e,

On Valentines Day, Joanna Young The Confident Writing Coach presented her readers with a challenge to write about “My Love Affair with Writing.”

I loved the idea and decided to take up her challenge immediately, for no secret to anyone, I love to write. I can crank out the written word in volumes. However what could I tell you about my love affair with writing that you don’t already know? I had to think about that for a while.

The answer came to me as I took advantage of the President’s Day holiday this past Monday to do some cleaning. Here is a picture of the best housekeeper’s helper I have:

In the course of cleaning off our dining room table, I picked up an old journal I’d been leafing through the past few evenings, nonchalantly ripped off the covers, and started to feed a few pages at a time through my voracious, eager to help me, Fellowes shredder.

My husband was sitting at the table with his coffee and the morning paper, and was horrified: He’d snuck a couple of looks into my journal too as it had lain there invitingly out in the open, and he couldn’t believe his eyes, asking me “What are you doing?” for surely it wasn’t a careless mistake: I knew those covers I’d ripped off well, and he’d seen that journal lots of times.

…He’d seen it when I’d carry it wherever I went,

…He’d seen when I purposely left out a rant or an adoration I wanted him or my kids to read,

…He’d seen it when I used it as an excuse to buy more post-it flags in new colors I didn’t really need.

…He’d looked over and seen it in my hands when he caught me laughing to myself, or tearing up over something that bothered me, not caring in the least that my tears were getting the writing all smeared up.

…He’d seen it when he knew I was up against some deadline with Ho‘ohana Publishing, because once again, I just had it clutched to my middle with my eyes closed, expecting inspiration to come out of its pages and straight into my gut.

My answer for him was pretty matter-of-fact: “I don’t need it anymore, I can write more.”

It may take me a while to let go of things (that now-shredded journal was a few years old), and I am nowhere near as irreverent as this picture…


Ode to Jack Kerouac found on Flickr by Olivander.

…however when I’m done with something I have written, I am truly done with it. There is this feeling of completeness that happens when the jaws of my shredder become part of the process. The writing has been terrific: It did what it was supposed to do for me. And yes, I loved it.

I think that is what my love affair with writing is really all about.
It’s the love affair with the act of writing, and not with what I may have written. I write, and I am in love with writing, because writing helps me think, reason, and decide. It helps me make sense of things, and bring them to more clarity. Once I do, I can get on with life and move on to the next thing I’d like to think about, reason through, and decide upon or even better, create.

I write to capture things, but only until I can use them in some way. I do write in frustration or anger sometimes, allowing myself the peaceful okay-ness of being an imperfect human being, and that is when I love my shredder most, for those are certainly words that I don’t want left around for anyone else to see. I don’t want to see them again either, for they are just emotion spilling to make room inside for better thoughts, and my shredder helps me remember that there is a whole lot more in life that deserves my attention instead.

Why do you love writing?

Joanna is offering a prize; a book to strengthen or inspire a lifelong love affair with writing. It is one I already have and highly recommend, so think about writing on your love affair for Joanna too… I take myself out of the prize running and I shall be rooting for you :)
~ Rosa

Postscript: More on Jack Kerouac here if you are wondering… Beat generation on Wikipedia.

An Archive Romp through more on Writing: Take 5?

  1. My Mana‘o on Why I Write.
  2. Sunday Mālama: Morning Pages, Artist Dates and Rhythm (on MWA Coaching).
  3. Writing is a Skill the Successful Master (on
  4. Learn from the Master: Blog for 1 Person (on Joyful Jubilant Learning)
  5. What I Learned From Writing Online: It DOES make a difference (on Joyful Jubilant Learning)


  1. says

    Rosa, I was thinking about you and writing this morning, when I was writing about the breath of life we can see or feel in our writing. I was wondering if you would talk about that as aloha, how we can write with aloha, putting something of ourselves into our words.
    And I know you love to write :-)
    But it’s so like you to surprise me again, to explore the boundaries, to learn more about what works for you and how to let go of things when they’re done (a recurring theme for you recently, I think)
    My instinctive reaction is to say ‘but I couldn’t’ when I think of letting go of my own journals… but I don’t know why, what is it that I’m holding onto, and that will give me some much needed food for thought.
    Thank you for taking the time to enter this project Rosa, and spreading the word to your readers.
    I know that everyone who takes part will have a different take on what it means to them, and that is why I am so looking forward to reading what everyone says.

  2. says

    Good morning Joanna, aloha kaua e.
    Ah, to write about aloha, the ‘breath of life’ as the expression of one’s love affair with writing? Now that is an invitation I cannot pass up! So, write on that I will” for now, to quickly respond to “I was wondering if you would talk about that as aloha, how we can write with aloha, putting something of ourselves into our words.” Yes, that is exactly what I would first say about connecting aloha with writing; aloha-filled writing is that which is a transparent view into the writer’s mana‘o ”“ the personally felt beliefs, thoughts, and convictions borne of their values lived in their context (sense of place). Simply said, aloha writing is ‘me, myself and I’ writing.
    And yes, though I didn’t use the word here this time (so mahalo for your comment giving me the opportunity!) this may be part of my ma‘alahi mood lately — ma‘alahi being the contentment one feels in a life of simplicity and ease. Journals that I feel ‘done with’ do become part of the clutter I feel I need to clear away. However this is not recent to my ma‘alahi writings; I think I could trace back the very first journal I shredded to 2003 when I moved thirty+ years of writing done in the corporate world to my now-at-home self-employed office —initially one end of our dining room table! As a more practical matter, five years later I have such a long way to go with my de-cluttering! If I were brave enough to publish a picture of all still remaining in my home you would see why instantly. Our ‘empty nest’ is most definitely NOT empty.
    Thank goodness I learned about blogging in 2004” much as I love my shredder, pressing that delete button is so much easier and spares the landfill!

  3. says

    Aloha in A Love Affair with Writing

    Joanna Young of our Ho‘ohana Community recently commented for me at Talking Story, writing, Rosa, I was thinking about you and writing this morning, when I was writing about the breath of life we can see or feel in our

  4. says

    How Writing Flow Can Happen For You Too ~ 9 Ways

    Aloha everyone, This is somewhat off-topic to talking story and better conversations, however Talking Story has been reborn for me this year as my personal blog so here goes… you can skip it if learning to love writing is not

  5. says

    Hau‘oli la hanau to Joanna Young!

    Surely you know Joanna by now too: She is the personification of our Ho‘ohana Community in Scotland! Today is her birthday. Because of Joanna, I can now spell Edinburgh right the first time, without checking, and knowing that she is

  6. says

    In Search of the Ultimate Freedom

    MY MANA‘O ~ ~ ~ If you are new to MWAC, Sunday Mālama is when we mix it up here. I may offer an extreme tangent to our current value of the month (for April: Mellow Maintenance Mālama), or write