Jan 8, 2007

Why Writeone?

My name is Cecily Markland, but as anyone who has ever received a business card or an e-mail from me knows, I claim the handle, “Writeone” in such communications.

Of course, that moniker was chosen with a bit of a marketing slant in mind, hoping that the double meaning would subtly serve to help convince would-be clients that I was right for their marketing, editing or copywriting jobs.

Indeed, without calling myself such, I have been a “Writeone” or at least “One who writes,” from a very young age. I have a vivid memory of accompanying my mother to what must have been one of the first parent-teacher conferences in which I was the subject of discussion. There, in the presence of two adults I cared about and wanted to impress, I remember feeling the rush of pleasure and excitement as my teacher pointed out the story I had written and told my mother that I’d done an excellent job.

I’m not at all sure that she used the word, “excellent,” but what I am certain about and what sticks with me still today is the sensation that her praise elicited. I recall feeling supremely confident, extremely happy and strangely curious at the same time. It was as if I had learned in those few sentences that I was in possession of an amazingly wonderful tool, a way to garner attention, express my innermost feelings and actually move the world around me. Sure, what I sensed was fairly rudimentary, just a glimpse of the possibilities, but that beginning has served as a jumping off place, a propellant that has fueled my passion, rocketed my career and sparked my quest to fully understand my mission in regard to putting words on paper.

The result has been a wild and fulfilling ride, a ride that has taken me from one end of the writing spectrum to another—from working as a technical writer to self-publishing a children’s book, from exposing my emotions in heart-felt published poetry to chronicling others’ experiences in hundreds of newspaper articles and newsletter pieces. I’ve written and edited hundreds of thousands of sentences, keyed countless stories about health, about war, about youth and aging, love and loss and everything in between.

Writing, for me, has been a hobby and a favorite pastime, but it also has been a lifesaver. Not only a way for me to earn my living and support my family as a single mother, writing has been cathartic, has helped me reach into the depths of my own soul and know myself better, and has, more than anything, given me an instrument I have been able to use to serve, uplift and inspire others.

While my understanding is still elementary in some ways, in the almost-50 years since that grade school experience, writing has become my have shown me time and again that my mission is based on writing—but not on my writing alone. I feel a responsibility to teach others what I’ve learned from my years of experience in the publishing world. I sense a duty to assist others to promote and market their books and writing. I often have strong promptings to encourage others to write, to put their hopes and dreams into words and then to share those words with the world. And, I love to read what others have written.

Truly, to say what writing has done for me is difficult to put into words, so I will borrow from someone else whose words come very close. Born to a 17-year-old mom who was in prison at the time and raised in a horribly abusive foster care home, this young man found escape and relief in writing. In this passage, Antwone Fisher comes very close to describing what I think writing can be for me…and for every individual who chooses to be a “Writeone.”

"Life often has a way of making people feel small and unimportant. But if you find a way to express yourself through writing, to put your ideas and stories on paper, you'll feel more consequential. No one should pass through time without writing their thoughts and experiences down for others to learn from. Even if only one person, a family member, reads something you wrote long after you're gone, you live on. So writing gives you power. Writing gives you immortality."


  1. Oh, the power of words! Thank you for that compelling post, Cecily.

  2. Well said, Cecily. You were able to express what lots of us feel but can't put into words.

    And...I'm in charge of the thought in our next ANWA meeting. You just gave it to me in that last quote. Thanks!

  3. Thanks all; and, don't you love how borrowing from others can often make your own writing more powerful? Now, I'm certainly not condoning plagarism, but I'm all for the kind of borrowing that includes quoting from others with attibution, learning from the critiques and comments of others and rubbing shoulders with other great writers in arenas like this one!


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