Independent Design & Technology studio working with organizations revitalizing urban communities.

Category Culture

I’ve always sought out and been a fan of elevated writing capabilities in others. On some level, it tips me off that there’s more rolling around in a person’s head than he or she is leading on, and it immediately identifies that one has the capacity to communicate thoroughly without a face to face conversation.

And, as someone who identifies as an ambivert, it’s been a way I can better understand people “between the lines” for many years now.

That being said, I tend to become frustrated and blocked when my own urge to write fades away. I get anxious and worrisome; I feel just flat out off. Usually something else is at play, and it’s up to me to figure out what, and why, so I can get back into a routine.

A few weeks ago I came across a brief article by a fellow digital business owner by the name of Jon Lay. Jon’s company, Hanno, runs a remote outfit from different corners of the globe. They’re growing, building, creating, and communicating on the web daily, much like our team is.

Jon’s post hit on a sore spot for me of late: that taking writing for granted can cause a disruption in flow. Since late 2013 I started journaling, writing, scribbling, and filling my Field Notes notebooks with ease. The words came easily. The concepts all seemed to link to one another. Where one ended, the next one picked up, and so on.

This written flow extended into the articles I’ve penned for Authentic over the years, into my personal website, and even into a few guest blogs and more public creative-friendly watering holes. Most of my writing resonated, and some of it people didn’t care for, but the point was that my writing was being leveraged by a certain kind of mental state. It had developed deep grooves in my psyche.

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Falling Apart

At some point in late 2015, somewhere between hiring and letting go an employee that didn’t work out, I lost this groove. I grew tired of the daily requirements of my role, and writing fell far back into the shadows of priorities. One small negative outlook fell upon another in a cycle of sorts.

Whereas previously I would feel energized to write about my experiences in business and life, suddenly I didn’t want anything to do with it. I didn’t want to share; let alone take the time to fill a document with those thoughts. This left me wondering: what changed?

I could immediately identify a few things that likely contributed to this demise, none of which are the sole culprit, but collectively are likely to blame for a lack of wantonness when it came to writing.

Right away I thought back to an exhausting year. We had the most successful—and the most difficult— in our history in 2015. We learned a lot by doing, and much of that doing wasn’t quite on point. A couple missteps cost us time and money, and while it left us more wise in ways, it also took a toll.

When I’m tired from doing the last thing I want to do is set up shop and start doing, again, in the form of pouring my thoughts onto paper. As other authors understand, writing is a very connected practice. From your soul, to your brain, to what you ultimately share, it’s all personal and meaningful on certain levels. Writing isn’t a detached artform.

The other big issue I felt bubbling to the surface—which is something I’m battling with at this very moment—is that I often want my posts to hold meaning. Tweets are great for takeaways, but I’m the kind of person who purposefully limits what I read, who I follow, and when I digest content. Why? Because the amount of noise in the world has never been louder.

Whether it be ads on a Twitter timeline, six commercials every five minutes during a television show, or the tsunami of negativity in a Google News feed, it’s too much. We’re culturally overloaded. The amount of content, ads, and opinions could pile high to the next galaxy.

So when it comes to writing content for my website, my business, and my community, I want it to mean something. I don’t want it to be a hunk of junk without thought. Then I just become someone making the volume louder; adding to the noise rather than cutting it.

Pacing Forward

There isn’t a clear path forward at this point. I still feel the weight of these things, and I’m not yet energized to begin sharing regularly again, but I know that I want and need to do this. Now, it’s a matter of seeking the Flow and setting revised boundaries.

Something I’ve forgotten to live by in recent months is that, simply, work can wait. That might sound crazy, but there are certain times during the day when writing just comes easier. Waiting until 9pm after a long day isn’t that time for me. Writing, much like design, tends to find its way out of each of us when it wants to. We can’t turn this off and on like a switch.

So what’s next, then? A paced approach to writing, I believe. Like anything in our careers and lives, there will come a time when life is disrupted by change. What at one time was a perfect fit may no longer be, but we can always recommit ourselves to something in a new way. Thing is, I want to share because, well, I love being shared to and learning from others who take the time to share with me. It’s important and it moves us forward.

For me, it’s all about making things clearer rather than louder.

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