Growth and change are two universal constants, no matter where you live, what you do or aspire to be in your life.
At least that’s what I’ve come to believe over the years, as my life has ebbed and flowed through good times and bad times. When it comes to one personal constant – this, putting words together to form coherent thoughts – I like to think I’ve grown and changed, too. Hopefully for the better.
A fellow blogger, Wendy E.N. Thomas, on the “Live to Write – Write to Live” blog, talked about growth, change and writing. She talked about how solitude is usually an important part of writing and recalled she had a writing shirt in college, “a grubby, hole-filled, but incredibly soft and heavy shirt. It kept me warm. It anchored me – a security blanket across my shoulders. It wasn’t meant for others to see, it was only meant for me.”
I can’t say I’ve ever had a similar shirt or a pair of pants, but I agree with Wendy that, as a writer, I like solitude. Actually, even throughout most of my professional career, I’ve written solo. As a journalist, nearly all my career has been spent writing from home or in an office of one. I’ve never had to go to a newsroom or a cubicle in a crowded office day in and day out.
In many ways, I think that’s been a benefit to me and helped me refine my storytelling skills and talents. I had to inspire myself to explore some mechanics of writing and storytelling to do a better job and satisfy my desire to learn something new.
Not that I didn’t have feedback from editors, readers and others along the way. I write for others first, then myself. So if my writing doesn’t resonate with readers, much of the satisfaction and even most of the reason to write doesn’t apply. Fortunately, I feel I’ve accomplished that goal much more often than not.
But, just like my recently relaunched career search, I think it can help to stir things up once in a while. As Wendy wrote, “If you have a comfortable uniform that you wear when you write, and you find that your writing may be getting a little sloppy, a little too relaxed – try mixing things up a bit. Put on a button down shirt. Wear shoes instead of slippers. A cardigan instead of a stained sweatshirt.”
Maybe that just means you look at things a little differently. When it comes to writing, it can be good to try something different, too. I’m not exactly sure what that might mean when it comes to putting words together to communicate, to tell a story or to inform.
But as I look at the world today, maybe everyone should take a different approach to what they do and want to be. It doesn’t mean you have to give up what or how you’re doing things now. Just a little thinking outside the box, the bigger picture.
Who knows what you and I might come up with, right?