10 lessons from the classroom of life
8 ways to make yourself shine

words are my happy sounds


"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."

Story People


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."

Tom Stoppard


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."


Benjamin Franklin

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.]


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Writing is also my passion. I love the post, and I really love the quotes, especially the one about being nudged a little. Wow. That was profound.

Molly - I'm so glad you loved the post and the quotes. I agree that the Stoppard quote is a GREAT one. I'm so glad my friend Blair shared it with me and I was able to share it with you. See, words ARE amazing, aren't they?

Hi Dani,
I love this post! Love it!!

I can relate on so many levels to all of what you're saying. Specifically, the idea of expressing emotions and feelings - I do this so much better through the written word also. And the thought of spending time inside your mind...this one is so positively strong for me.

I feel that when I really connect with what I'm writing, the words flow - and I feel deeply connected to my soul. And it just feels so right to be writing...and I get lost in time. It is really a wonderful and amazing experience to be in this space...

Thanks so much for this post, Dani - what an inspiring read!

customer: what do you do for fun?

15 year old me: I like to write.

customer: oh yeah that's nice.

15 year old me: yeah, I'm good with my mouth.

an awkward moment followed.

Lance - YAY! I'm so happy you enjoyed the post and that you related to it on so many levels! I agree that when I'm writing something I feel very passionate about, I get lost in it and I feel like I really go inside myself and learn more about myself. I know some people aren't writers and might not really understand this concept, but I'm so glad you could relate to what I was talking about in this post.

Nicole - Haha. I'm not sure what kind of "customer" this was, but it sounds like it was quite an awkward moment. I love what you wrote on your site today. It was a topic that really resonated with me and I think you handled the situation really well.

I'm slowly discovering writing as a way of communication. I like to talk things out and my ideas flow well that way. It certainly sounds like you're in the flow when writing! I don't know how you write so much so quickly!

Some writers dictate (or used to have scribes) because it's easier for them to think out loud. I do a little bit of both. I record ideas as they come to me on the voice recorder I have on my phone and then flesh it out through writing/typing later.

I'm constantly amazed at how our bodies serve as vessels of communication for our mind. Whether it be typing, talking or writing, the words do come out as happy sounds.

I love #4 and #5 (from the ones that keep you present) Writing helps me notice details too, it's like your mind opens up, it's great.
To me, it's liberating, sometimes my mind feels saturated from too many thoughts, when I write them, they become clearer and I can move on to other things. And sharing is the best, you can relate and connect to other people.
Awesome post as usual. Oh, btw, I LOVE the way you write; it's simple, it's clear and most importantly, it's REAL :)

Writing. Well, I could write all day about that. (ha)

For me, whether it's writing, photography, reading, and so on - it's all about sharing stories.

It's a process of discovery. It's a way to be more present and aware. It's an opportunity to see things in a different way. It's a way to inspire, to learn, to communicate, to connect. It's a way to recognize ourselves in others and realize we share more common ground than we sometimes think.

Thank you for this post, and for making me think about what writing means to my own life.
All the best!

Akshay - I'm pretty terrible at communicating verbally so I'm fortunate to have found that writing works for me. I agree that it's SO amazing that we can write or speak sounds and they come out as meaningful words and phrases. Amazing!

Rosa - So glad you were finally able to get on to the site! I agree that writing things down really does make everything much more clear. I've been neglecting my journal in favor of the blogs lately and I need to work on that because writing about how I feel (in a more personal sense) is one of the best ways for me to release my emotions. Thanks so much for the compliment! :) I love to write and it makes me happy to know that someone else loves the way I write.

Deb - Me too! Haha. However, I tried to keep it (sort of) short for this post. You've identified some great reasons why writing is awesome in your comment. Most importantly, it's a way to share, something I wasn't doing much of until recently. I used to write and write and write in my journals but no one ever saw them. It feels wonderful to now have a place where I can write and be heard.

I only very recently discovered how much I enjoy reading and writing. Through my childhood, I was always good at math. Math came very easily. But I struggled with both reading comprehension and writing throughout my entire life. One of my main goals in blogging has been to improve my writing. So far, I've been happy with my progress.

Vi - I would have never know that about you because the writing on your site is great! It's funny how some people relate more to math and others to writing. What I loved about writing as a kid was that there wasn't always a right or wrong answer. A lot of the time I could write my way to a good answer.

A love letter for writing. When you said "I love writing. I write that with a fierceness that I cannot accurately describe." that is exactly how I feel about dancing. Exactly. And that you get to connect with that every day is sheer badassitude.

This is why I enjoy blogging so much. I can express, share, learn and grow. I never thought of myself as a writer...but I can see how my writing has developed and improved. I find it a true joy to write now. When I write all the voices quiet (my mind clears) and I can focus on the words...pure bliss when that happens!

Hi Dani,

I forget if it was Steinbeck or Hemingway but one of them said that the love is writing is not something that people can choose, it chooses the person. As someone who has been writing for 19 years and plans to keep going until this ride is over, I absolutely love writing and I also have come to realize that not many people fully understand the power of it. It is one of those skills that looks so deceptively easy but it is not.

Your love for writing is quite obvious and that is awesome. :) Hope you are having a great weekend. :)

Hey Dani! This is my first time here and I'm loving your writings! I have just bookmarked your site and will check back regularly. For me, I only really started writing when I started my personal development blog 6 months ago. The reason why I write is driven by my passion to grow and help others grow - interestingly, through this it has made me fall in love with writing too. The ability to use words to express ourselves, discover ourselves, and share ourselves with others, is simply amazing.

I love words and I would shout it to the rest of the world if I could. Wait a second...I do. I shout it every time I write a blog post. :)

I couldn't have said it any better. Words keep me in the moment, but at the same time focused upon understanding more of who I am.

Hayden - I'm so glad that you could relate what I wrote about writing to something that you feel passionately about. I love the word "badassitude" -- that's great! :)

Caroline - That's the beauty of writing. The more you do it, the better you are at it (and, typically, the more you fall in love with it). It's great way to express and share and I'm glad that I have the opportunity to read what you write on your blogs.

Nadia - I've heard the quote before and it's a great one (and so true!) Writing is something that means so much to me and I know that not everyone quite gets it so it's great to hear feedback from a fellow writer who loves the craft as much as I do! Hope your weekend was wonderful as well.

Celes - So glad you found the site! If you're interested in keeping up with the posts, you can subscribe in a reader (click the link at the top of the page) or receive the posts via email (on the right). Both are free! :) I'm so excited that you've fallen in love with writing. It's such a great way to connect with others and with yourself.

Karl - Blogging is a great way to shout out to the world! I'm so happy I have it as an outlet now. Writing (in blog posts and elsewhere) is such a great way to stay in the moment and I think everyone (even "non-writers") can really benefit from giving it a go.

Ah, the written or typed, word. There is just something poignantly magical about language. The way that thoughts are transformed into words that flow from the end of our fingers or our pen. The moment when the reader is in the mind of, and becomes, the writer. The writer who can create such wonders and bear so much of themselves.....

There is magic in words.

Sean - I agree. Words are magic. They can do so many good and terrible things and, really, it's amazing how carelessly we use them sometimes. Thanks so much for the comment!

You are amazing. You come up with so much inspiration and so many good ideas. Thank you!

Hi Dani. Okay, this quote by Tom Stoppard is now my all time favourite... "Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little."

I truly love words! Just changing one word in a sentence can change the way it speaks. I love your lists too. Especially #5 in How Writing Keeps You Positive... "looking at life from different angels". What a way to enjoy the view! :-)

BTW, congrats on NBOTW! I was not blogging all last week and of course missed your big day.

Hi Dani,

I LOVE the quote by Benjamin Franklin. For bloggers who wonder if their posts are of the highest quality, just asking if our words are worthy of reading could stop us in our tracks.

Boy am I glad I can continually edit before hitting that publish button as my first drafts can be pretty sad.

Hi Dani ..you express yourself so well .. and I really love the idea that you've presented - positive and present as separate entities .. it's an incredibly useful read.

The blog is an inspiration .. and I love reading your posts -
thanks so much -
Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters

Like you, I've been writing since I was a kid. Teachers used to praise me for it, and then one day, I stopped. Not ironically, it was during a time in my life that just wasn't working. And if I did write, it was (again, like you) angry journal entries.

Today I spend most of my days writing, or thinking about writing, or reading someone else's writing... and I can't imagine a better life!

Thanks for this great ode --- I loved it!

thanks for sharing your gift of wordweaving, Dani!

Tess - Thank you so much! I'm so happy you enjoy reading the ideas I put out there.

Davina - Isn't that the BEST quote?! I'm so happy my friend Blair gave it to me! Words are so amazing and you're right about how a single word can change the whole meaning of a sentence.

Barbara - You make a great point! We should all ask ourselves if our words are worth reading before we publish them. I'm sure I could do a lot of editing before I publish my posts, but I know if I even re-read them once I will change a million things and spend my entire day on one thing. I just write 'em a push "submit," hoping they're good enough for others to read!

Hilary - Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. It makes me very glad to know that you enjoy reading my posts and find them inspiring!

Megan - That's sad that you gave up writing for awhile, but I'm SO glad you've come back to it. I love reading your posts!

Lisa - You're welcome! Thank YOU for writing the word "wordweaving" in your comment. I love it!

Love this post, Dani! This is my favorite, by far. Love words, too. I read everything I see, that's why I bump into people and stuff when I'm out and about. Haha

Meream - Your comment made me laugh! I've been known to walk around with a book in my hand, stubbing my toes or bumping into things. I'm so glad you liked the post! :)


I love this post! You've described a beautiful love story...the love of writing for writing by a writer!

Writing has always been something I was told I was "good" at - ever since 7th grade (and we're talking many moons ago because I'll be 46 years young this year). Only recently I have zero'd in on not what I'm good at, but what I really really need to do - write. I'm pretty sure you've seen my blog posts on my results and my wins with the Passion Test.

What hit home a few weeks ago is that someone is using something I said in her signature block on email. Yes...someone is quoting me. And sharing that quote with everyone she emails. All the time. That's a huge WOW.

The written word is mighty powerful!


I love the way you framed writing for positive and present.

I remember when I was younger, it was frustrating to not find the right words to say what I meant. As I got older, and found the right words, life got better. Life seems better when you can find the right words, say them the right way, and write your story a page at a time.

I don't share the same *passion* for writing that you have, but I do enjoy it. For me, it's a huge release. When thoughts and stresses and complaints build and build upon themselves, they need to go somewhere. I find that if I write them down, I can center myself and be more *positively present*! (pun intended) If I don't write them down, I tend to take it out on those around me.

Peggy - It's so nice to hear that you enjoyed the post. That is SO awesome that someone is quoting you every time they send an email. Amazing!

J.D. - Thank you! It can definitely be so frustrating when you can't find the right words (this happens to me a lot when I'm communicating verbally), but I agree that as I get older I seem to be better and better at telling my own story.

Kirwin - It's great that you use writing as a way to release emotions, etc. I definitely do that as well adn it's such a great way to release your feelings in a positive way. When I don't do this, it tends to come out in another, more negative way so writing things down definitely impacts my life in a positive way.

I love to write, but I'm not terribly good at it. I have a lot of difficulty expressing my thoughts as a visual person, and my love notes can come off as cliche and cheesy (even if that's how I'm feeling). However, words have definately shaped me. Through reading and writing I've come a long way, and I am an avid quote collector. I definately believe that words can change the world, and there is stark proof. If words were not so powerful, no one would cry at speeches or burn a book.

Hi Dani, all great points here, and I love the quotes you shared, too! Writing is magical. I can recall different points in my life when writing completely swept me away and took over. It was the spirit rushing through me and it was the best feeling ever. I put writing away for awhile and having picked it up again since starting my blog, I'm really falling in love with it all over again. My favorite thing about writing my blog is that it helps me to explore my thoughts further than I would if I kept the thought as just a thought. Writing helps me grow and helps me to better understand myself as a person. Thanks for your post! Love it!

Love this post. As a blogger who recently caught the writing bug (I think I always had it), I really appreciate so much of what you are saying in this post. I've discovered so much about myself and found many interesting/inspirational people like yourself thanks to writing. I'm not sure where it will lead me, but it seems to be the one calling I wake up with every morning.

Great points, great insight.

Writing is conducive to awakening; it was and continues to be a critical conductor of awakening for me.


Writing is such a gift for you! I enjoy it as well, but it stresses me out when I know i have to get something written with a deadline. Have you ever written Morning Pages or heard of The Artist's Way? Seems like something you'd really enjoy.

Ia - Thanks for your comment! I agree that words are extremely powerful, and, like you, I'm a BIG fan of quotes. There's nothing quite like finding a really good quote...

Jodi - I'm so glad you've picked up writing again. It's such a magical, fulfilling thing to do and it's great that you're back at it again!

Srinivas - That's excellent that you've caught the writing bug. I can certainly tell because your posts are filled with wonderful information and are always so well written. Writing really does help us to connect more with others and with ourselves so keep writing! :)

Kaushik - I agree that writing is a great tool when it comes to awakening. I learn so much about myself when I'm writing and even more about staying focused on the now.

Michelle - Thank you! :) I've never heard of those two, but I will definitely check them out. Thanks so much for the suggestions.

Wow Dani this is such an excellent reminder of how powerful writing can be. I love what you wrote about staying present. This is a huge challenge for me, and I hadn't considered that my craft could help me with it. "When I'm writing, I'm thinking about the words. I'm thinking about the concepts. I'm there, in that moment." <--So true. Thanks for giving me something new to appreciate about my passion. =)

Lori - SO glad you enjoyed the post. When I wrote it, I was doing it more so for me because I didn't think other people would really "get" it, but I've gotten so many great responses and yours was one of them so thank you! :)

Hey Dani! Thanks a lot for your suggestions! I don't have a habit of using a reader, so what I've done is I've bookmarked your site along with other sites I like to read, and check them daily/almost daily. It works great for me. Looking forward to connecting with you further! :)

I cannot imagine my life without writing. I am a journal junkie - have been for decades! I think the written word has "caught me" both in reading voraciously and writing endlessly - about everything and anything! Funny I just blogged a bit on words myself!

Thanks for an incredible post here! LOVED it!

Celes - That's great! I'm glad you'll be checking in on PP.

Suzen - I'm so happy you loved the post so much. I'm a journal junkie as well. It's absurd how many journals I have, but I love them all dearly and I also feel that they are a purposeful purchase (in the way some things I buy -- like clothes, shoes, etc. -- really don't). Writing is the love of my life and I'm so happy that you share in the love of the written word!

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