Write Your Way Forward

Dec 17, 2023

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What I write and what I say – they rarely align.

After responding to month-old messages, I realized the way I communicated and responded felt more intentional, direct, or in some cases encouraging and supporting. Curious, inquisitive, digging in.

Where-as when speaking, I keep things close to the chest. I don’t say what I might have written. Sometimes I feel bad talking with someone, because the conversation might have been better in writing. Verbal communication is overwhelming to my brain, so it feels like I’m engaging a different, less practiced language when talking. I feel limited in my ability to articulate compared to when I write.

I know that I can learn and practice to speak more effectively, even if “writing” may always be my sweet spot for communicating accurately.

If I gave myself the same patience to speak as I do when I write, maybe I can close that gap more quickly.

I’m grateful for the conversations I’ve been having over Zoom or in person over the recent months, because they have at least shown me that I /am/ making progress on that front.

For what feels like months, I’ve withdrawn a lot from sharing online. 

Constantly I’m questioning what the point of sharing on social/online is.

One of the most resonating questions I come up with during “100 Questions” is “who am I without the internet?” If I couldn’t share anything I was up to, if I couldn’t write to anyone, if I couldn’t make videos, or couldn’t distract myself scrolling feeds, watching videos, and so on — who would I be, what would I be doing?

“Wh  am I without the internet” is less about validating the utility of the internet, but rather…
“who is the core of who I am if I don’t distract myself?”

Weaving in and out of “internet free” or “internet light” periods in recent months, it’s revealed how much of what I have written unconsciously stems from wanting to get external validation, support, encouragement, etc. instead of the desire to share coming from an internally driven desire to express or share something that might be useful to others.

Over and over I have had to remind myself — even the hum-drum, glum posts like these can still be useful to some. Some might not even see this post as “hum-drum and glum”, but rather introspective. Some may even glean something to take away for themselves and their own life. Some may offer encouragement or share their own experiences, hoping to add to the collective conversation of those navigating similar challenges.

All of that is great.

… But then I don’t write. I circle around to “what’s the point of sharing online?” 

I’ve been doing “Morning Pages” prescribed by the book, “Artist’s Way.” These are 3 pages, first thing in the morning, of non-stop writing. The contents don’t matter: just write.

This has been my gateway to processing experiences, feelings, and frustrations in life. Writing is making a comeback in my life as I’m rediscovering its utility for me — and I say this not as a declaration “for social media” or to get accountability. I say it as a declaration to myself:

Like, “Hey buddy, you found writing again. Remember how helpful it was? Welcome back!”

“Honesty” has been a guiding principle for myself in recent weeks. Can I at least just tell myself the truth, as much as I possibly can? I practice these in my Morning Pages. They bleed into my decisions throughout the day – recognizing when I’m being driven by the wrong things, so I start saying yes to this and no to that, becoming more and more honest in not just my dialogue but in my choices. — In due time I hope that I can be more open, vulnerable, and honest with others.

In my time “away”, I found a distaste for the method of how I might create. My camera sat on the shelf for weeks. I stopped writing articles/posts and didn’t journal deeply (even the ones I knew wouldn’t ever make it online).

I was overthinking what to create, thinking about [YouTube] titles, thumbnails, CTRs and AVDs. I felt like I had to make the “right” thing, that followed a blueprint, that would be ‘successful’ even in a small way (views, subscribers, social approval, …).

While those can be important to a degree, unconsciously prioritizing that was actually what was preventing me from creating in the first place. I was putting “step 2” before “step 1,” so I never picked up the camera.

So this is my invitation to myself: to make and share what my heart needs to make and share.

I believe there is something transformational that happens for us when we share, but I also believe that it needs to be seeded, fueled, or watered by an internally driven choice – not because it’ll garner “views” or follows “some way we’re supposed to share and create.” 

For me, for my “inner artist” or my “lost soul,” at this time in life there really is no point in doing “best practices” if it means never making, sharing, or growing.

Kate Ward shared in a livestream at Creator Now,
“until you know who you are, everything else is noise.”

I remember that statement punching me right in the heart because I knew a lot of my behaviors were “noise.” A lot of what I have been consuming has been “noise.”

As I stripped away certain behaviors, content, and access to platforms… I slipped even faster down a slope I already felt like I was sliding down. I felt like I mentally and emotionally hit a ‘bottom’ I didn’t know I could hit. I know I’m not out of it, but thanks to certain connections (online, and in person) and finally opening up to family, I feel like I’m moving in a better direction.

Hosts of the podcast “Shit You Don’t Learn In School” talked about Charles Bukowski who (from my limited understanding of him) wrote primarily to keep himself sane.

Looking back, I feel like that’s been a lot of my writing as well. Trying to make sense of myself and trying to “write my way forward.” Not all of those writings make it online. I know that “writing my way forward” has been an effective way for making momentum in my life – in some small ways.

If nothing else comes from a writing, at least I’ve stayed present with myself in my own experience instead of falling down the rabbit hole of distraction-after-distraction. 

Translation: at least I spent time doing the “one” thing with/by myself instead of doing everything BUT the “one” thing.

In hindsight, it’s interesting how a big struggle of mine is expression.

When I’m not expressing, I wither. I don’t even necessarily need to be expressing to a person or a platform. Sometimes I just need to go on a walk and talk out loud. Or journal until my brain is done. I need to work through the anxiety and nerves bouncing around in my brain.

It’s like I need to talk over my crazy-anxious brain and get it to stop looking at everything OUTSIDE of myself and instead start paying attention INSIDE. Start paying attention to what I’m actually doing. Start having a dialogue with myself about who I am in this moment – instead of playing an imaginary film of conversations I might have with others.

Even in dance, it’s difficult for me to be playful and expressive. Not being able to extend my arms to full range, etc.

There is a withholding, a fear of judgment, a “keeping things close to the chest.”

I invite myself to continue to “write my way forward”, so that one day it will translate into more effortlessly expressing with the spoken word — more of the truth within and less keeping things ‘close to the chest.’

Because I’ve had some beautiful moments that came out of simply sharing what my intuition was saying.

So here’s to more honesty with ourselves so that we can show our true hearts with others – in our words and our actions.


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