"I'm better with words
when I don't want anything
because then I'm just glad to be alive
and words are my happy sounds."
A few days ago my friend Abbey emailed me that quote and I instantly loved it. I have been -- and always will be -- a writer. Writing is, for whatever reason, in my blood. Whether I am writing a short story, a novel, a research paper, a journal entry, a press release, an email, or a blog post, I am always writing something. My fingers are always on the move, finding the keys quickly on the keyboard and sending messages from my mind to my hands to the screen. I love writing. I write that with a fierceness that I cannot accurately describe. This post, if you didn't already guess, is about writing. Many of those who read this post are writers themselves and will probably enjoy it. Some readers don't write and may not think they are interested in a post all about writing. However, bear with me here. Writing is something we all do from time to time. For some people, writing consists of an occasional email. For others, writing is a way of life. No matter who you are, you can (and do) write. (Okay, that's an assumption, but it's hard not to assume that those reading this blog can and do write...) You might not be head-over-heels for the written word like I am, but you can still probably gain something from my experience as a writer so try not to be immediately turned off by the specificity of this topic.
When you think about it., writing is really an amazing thing. Think about it. How many times have you written or read something that has changed you, even a little bit? I have so many memories of moments when reading or writing changed me. I remember little notes from my mom in my lunchbox reading, "I love you." I remember the amazing letter my father wrote to me when I turned twenty-one. I remember writing a letter than moved a boyfriend to tears. I remember jokes typed quickly to friends over Instant Messager. I remember letters of acceptance, letters of rejection. I remember love letters and emails exploding with adoration. I remember harsh words and careful apologies sent through cyberspace to my inbox. I remember life-altering books, reading words that would forever change the way I viewed the world. I remember so many things -- both good and bad -- when I think about the impact words have had on my life. Take a moment to ask yourself: How has the written word transformed my world?
"Words are sacred. They deserve respect.
If you get the right ones in the right order,
you can nudge the world a little."
My amazing friend Blair (writer of many secretive classroom notes, thoughtful cards, and emailed words of inspiration and encouragement) gave me that quote on a magnet and I have to say that I feel inspired every single time I catch a glimpse of those words hanging on a magnetic strip in my closet. The thought of words nudging the world really speaks to me...which, I guess, it's kinda of ironic, isn't it? Stoppard is writing about words nudging the world and his words have nudged my world. I've read that quote countless times and I cannot stop thinking about how true it is (and how badly I want to write words that will nudge the world, even just a little bit...).
Words are powerful. They can change a mood, a relationship, a nation. They can bring about feelings of hope, despair, or love. They can be simple or complex. They can be meaningful or meaningless. Every day we use words to say little things or big things to one another. And, as we all know, the lack of words can be just as meaningful as actual words can be. Words, even the absence of them, really can, as Stoppard suggests, nudge the world.
"If you would not be forgotten,
As soon as you are dead and rotten,
Either write things worthy reading,
Or do things worth the writing."
As I'm sure you know, I could record countless quotes about writing here, but that one by Ben Franklin really gets to me. It causes me to think... am I writing things worth reading? (Sometimes yes, sometimes no.) And, more importantly, am I doing things worth writing about? (For the most part, I'd have to say yes to this one.) For me, this quote brings the general concept of writing into focus for me. It makes me think about WHY writing is so important to me. WHY has writing always been one of my favorite things to do? WHY do I love the feeling of a pen in my hand or a keyboard beneath my fingers? WHY is communicating with others via written word so essential to how I live my life?
Not surprisingly, the more I thought about it, the more I realized why I love writing so much. Because it helps me be positive and it helps me stay present. I'll admit that, in the past, writing hasn't been the most positive thing for me. Some of the stories I've written are downright depressing and I know that I've penned quite a few hostile journal entries. However, lately, writing is one of the most positive influences in my life. It reminds that I am here, right now, living in this life. It encourages me to think about what really matters to me, about what I really want to bring to the world through my words. After realizing how positive and present writing makes me feel, I decided to look at these two adjectives a little bit more closely in relation to writing.
5 Ways Writing Keeps Me Positive
- I feel good about what I'm doing. Because I love writing so much, I feel really good when I'm doing it. There are a lot of things we do in life that don't necessarily make us feel good. Some things, in fact, make us feel downright bad. However, writing is one of those things that makes me feel good and happy. No matter what I'm writing, even something on the most boring topic, brings me happiness.
- I am able to express my emotions. I'm not the best at expressing myself (just ask any of my exes) but it's different when it comes to writing. For whatever reason, I am much better at sharing my emotions via the written word. Writing allows me to communicate much more effectively with others, which is obviously a major positive addition to my life. To be able to express how we feel is so important and writing allows me to do that.
- I can share bits of myself with others. Not only am I able to release my emotions through writing, I can also share who I am with the world, especially through this blog. Writing is my art and it is my way of telling others who I am. Some people do this through photography or videos or music. For me, words are the way to go. Writing allows me to share, to open up, and this has a really positive and lasting impact on me.
- I learn more about who I am (and want to be). When I'm exploring my emotions and sharing myself with others, I learn more about who I am and what I want to be. Of course, this isn't always an easy thing to do but I believe, in the long run, it really has brought a great deal of positivity into my life. Figuring myself out really helps me to live a happier, more aware, life, and writing is one of my favorite ways to get more in touch with myself.
- I look at life from different angles. As I've mentioned before, I believe it's really important to see the world from different perspectives. Writing allows me to do this. When I'm writing about something I try to think about different ways to word things as well as different ways to convey certain ideas. Opening my mind and heart to new ideas always ends up leading me down new and exciting paths, something I don't think I would achieve without writing.
5 Ways Writing Keeps Me Present
- I am focused on the current task. When I'm writing, I'm thinking about the words. I'm thinking about the concepts. I'm there, in that moment. Sure, my mind wanders from time to time or I get distracted from what I'm writing, but, for the most part, when I'm writing I am focused on the words I'm putting onto the page (or screen). I'm putting myself in a moment and I'm not allowing myself to be anywhere by where I am right at that point in time.
- I spend time inside of my mind. Writing forces me inward. When I write, I'm typically thinking about ideas and trying to craft sentences that make sense. I'm using a lot of different skills inside my head, but, regardless of which tools I'm using, I'm there, in my mind, thinking. I'll admit that I don't always want to be in my mind. Sometimes I'd give anything to be elsewhere, but I do think it's important to spend some time inside of myself, learning about me.
- I am always on the look out for new topics. By always thinking about what I'm going to write next, viewing the world from a writer's point of view, I'm paying attention. I'm listening to others' words. I'm looking around at different ways of living or being or acting or feeling. I'm trying to understand what the world is all about so that I can return to the safe haven of my room and write about it. Writing opens my eyes in so many amazing ways.
- I look for the details in everything. Just as writing helps me to be on the lookout for new things to write about, it also helps me to notice things I might otherwise miss. I'm always thinking about things in words, attempting to be more specific. I think about how I would describe a situation or a color or an emotion to someone else when I'm experiencing it. This helps me to be a better writer, but it also helps me to be more present in my life.
- I can revisit the past and envision the future. As I've discussed before, dealing with the past and the future are important ways to stay in the moment, and, through writing, I am able to address my past and consider my future. When I write about the past/future, I release parts of myself onto the page and/or screen and I free up my mind to focus on the present. There is something about writing that allows for a letting go once the words become a reality.
Writing isn't something that everyone is into, and I get that. Regardless, writing is important. It can affect your world in so many different ways. It's not always easy to write, even for someone like me who loves it, but it can be really meaningful. Consider what it might mean to someone if you wrote something to them. Think about writing and what it means to YOU. I'd love to know what writing means to you...Feel free to share in the comments...
[Note: I was given the amazing opportunity to post as a guest on Calm and Cool. If you're up for reading more of my writing, check out "Train Yourself to Be Positive in 5 Simple Steps" over at Calm and Cool.]