Write with a Passionate Purposeful Light
Last Friday I completed my 26th Friendly Light Friday blog post. The goal I have for myself is to post every Friday for a year. I started this journey on Friday, March 23, 2018.
The blog’s purpose is to give myself an outlet for personal and professional development with hopes of sharing authentic stories to connect with others about subject matter.
My writing for the blog post is sometimes lighthearted in nature – discussing the importance of restoring your light (self-care) to challenging industry topics such as the sexualization of women. The overarching thread of my writing is to be as authentic as possible by telling my truth.
It is difficult to write only for the sake of writing.
What lights your internal fire? Write about that.
Writing with a purpose is the most rewarding - a journal reflection, a song, an article, a sermon, a class speech, a message or a letter to a friend.
What weakens your internal fire? Still write. Change the environment, turn on music or write with others.
If we choose to tap into why we write and what we are passionate about, we are more likely to receive pleasure form the experience versus feeling the anguish of having to write. In addition, consider the environment for writing - this may light the passion for a piece of writing we rather avoid.
I recently attended a workshop at Elon University where we had an amazing opportunity to hear from Professor Helen Sword from the University of Auckland. She is currently working on a new book titled, Writing with Pleasure, with a plan to share insights about why people write, where do they write, and who do they write with. Sword hopes to provide understanding for why certain writing experiences give us pleasure.
Sword provided an exercise and asked us to recall a time in our life when we associated writing with pleasure. We were to describe the details of our writing and start from any place in life where we recalled a pleasurable experience.
Here are a few of the questions:
When did you experience pleasurable writing?
What were you writing?
Who were you with?
Where were you writing?
Here is a snip it of my pleasurable free writing for the exercise:
When I was in middle school my friend Shannon and I decided to write songs and make a tape. We began to write song lyrics, many of the songs created about loss and hurt initially. For example, one song written was about not having my dad around after my parents got divorced.
I tend to write out of the lens of pain and happiness as a thread of my writing over the past 30 years. I think that is why I embrace the importance of authenticity and speaking personal truth. Being vulnerable gives others the opportunity to be expressive as well.
I’m sorry to say that I am not making tapes (sales were low, haha) but I do find myself during difficult and challenging times writing in my journal. My journals are never consistent, however, when I feel the need to write, I write.
In high school, I began writing poetry and my freshman year I became a sports writer for the high school. newspaper. By my senior year, I served as co-editor of the school paper.
In college, my favorite courses were my English courses (even though I was a sport management major) because the environment allowed me to be creative in my writing.
I actually stepped away from journaling during my masters and doctoral program. Once I completed my doctoral program I began to journal more. During my graduate studies I learned about writing with passion and purpose by the hot topics I chose to research, for example, a law paper I write about reducing legal liability in study abroad.
There are many forms of writing,
For me, I have to challenge myself to see the intersections between the various types of writing I do. I also have to Intentionally understand what about writing gives me pleasure and how I can make my writing pleasurable, no matter the type of writing – a thank you card, research article, or blog post.
As I noted in the video, there are days where I am ready to jump into writing.
I can find myself on a Monday saying, “yes, this is what I am going to write about”…
...and other weeks it will be Thursday and I’m saying, “is this what I really want to write about and share this week”…
...or I am struck by a hot topic or personal experience and I completely change my approach and say to myself, “I have to write about this”.
Many times we can beat ourselves up on days that we are not writing, wishing we accomplished more.
We forget about the importance of spending time thinking about ideas, reading more about a topic, brainstorming, free writing, conversing with others, outlining and simply daydreaming about our writing.
Writing is a patient process.
Before attending the workshop by Helen Sword, I never truly thought about how much time I spent writing the blog (and this is not even counting hours that I am working on research projects or other special assignments). For the blog specifically, I figure I have averaged a total of 8 hours a week (considering ideas, brainstorming, free writing, daydreaming and placing my fingers on the keyboard). If this is true than so far I have spent 208 hours writing the blog. I have to admit it depends on the topic, some weeks less time and other weeks more than 8 hours.
To write with a passionate purposeful light
“Style is to forget all styles” – Jules Renard