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The possibilities of the written word - Jason A. Smith

I've always loved to write.

Ever since my teenage years, I've found that I had an affinity for the written word. I can usually express myself much better with a pen or a keyboard, than I can when I am speaking.

It wasn't until I was in college, that I realized I could make a living by writing. A classmate had seen something I had written for an assignment, and suggested I try to write for the college newspaper.

From there, I eventually became a journalist, leading me to cover countless stories, and write numerous columns, such as this one.

News writing has long been a passion of mine.

Along the way, there have been times when I have wanted to explore other types of writing as well. A few weeks ago, at the urging of one of my closest friends, I decided to try my hand at fiction writing for the first time. Prior to that, I never fancied myself a fiction writer, preferring to stick to the facts or, in the case of my columns, opinion writing.

I was surprised to discover I had what my friend described as a knack for writing scenes and dialogue. Even more surprising, was the fact that I enjoyed it.

Suddenly, a whole new world of writing possibilities, was opened to me.

Another type of writing, in which I have dabbled in the past, is songwriting. My best friend and I, years ago, wrote a few songs together.

Looking back, the songs I penned were probably a bit naive, and reflected the life experiences -- or lack thereof -- I had up to that time. I've learned a lot about myself, and about the world, since those days.

Recently, I've begun wanting to revisit the songwriter in me, for a few reasons. For one thing, my fiction-writing experience has reminded me how much I love writing of all kinds.

Of course, being a new father, I have another source of inspiration for writing songs, in my baby girl.

The main obstacle I face these days in chasing after certain writing projects, is time. Work, family commitments, and the blessed concept known as free time, often take precedence over making myself step outside of the proverbial box, and write for pleasure.

Once upon a time, I even told a few friends I might write a book one day. I haven't closed the door on that possibility, but I have no idea when I'd be able to do it.

Still, when a person develops a passion for something, he or she needs to chase after it.

I will always have a desire to write the news of the day, to keep people informed of what's going on around them. I need to take the time to write another song, whether in collaboration with a friend or by myself. I want to explore, more fully, the budding fiction writer in me.

One of these days, I might even get around to writing that book.

All I know for sure is that I don't want my passion to lie dormant, and die because I never explored the world of possibilities in front of me.

Jason A. Smith covers government and politics for the Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached via e-mail at jsmith@henryherald.com.