Making Time To Write
So many interesting people I meet tell me that they want to write a book “someday,” and follow that with “when I can take a year off,” or “when my children are older,” or “when I retire.”
I understand that what they are really saying is that they want to write a book but they don’t feel they have the time right now or they aren’t ready. When they are not ready, that means they are lacking in confidence. They aren’t sure that others will be interested in their stories or ideas. In many cases, they are also having trouble organizing their thoughts.
These are all valid reasons for putting off a project you want to do, of course, but you should not put off writing regularly in your life. Even if it is just a few paragraphs in a journal, you should find the time to jot something down every day so your ideas and images and experiences will be captured in one place when the time is there for you to write.
The philosopher Socrates used to warn his students that once we learn how to read, we may forget how to remember. We are even more in danger of that now in this digital age when there scarcely seems to be any point in struggling to remember anything, since we can recall it with a quick tap of our smartphone.
We used to remember phone numbers, all seven or 10 digits as needed. We used to remember street numbers and directions to get from Point A to Point B. Now we set our devices to do all that thinking for us. When we see an amazing site, we point our smart phone and take a photo. We don’t have to rush to write down a description so it will stay fresh with us.
As we grow more and more dependent on outside memory devices, our inside memory still needs to be exercised. And that is why we must write, to capture those things and the sentiment and emotion that goes with them that our devices can never capture.
We need to be reminded of the care we took to pack the basket that ended up in that picture of the beach picnic. We need to remember how hard it was to earn that diploma when we smile for the photo. We need to know the intricacies of the journey and how it touched our minds and our hearts, and none of that is contained in our GPS.
Writing is a way that truly allows us to join the world again at its elemental level. It lets us hear the wind in the leaves, feel the warmth of the sunshine, or smell the chemicals of the traffic jam in a crowded city.
Our lives are a feast of stories, and we need to capture them in words, a few at a time, on a regular basis.
And then, like the creative miracle all books are, we wake up some morning and discover that all these little snippets we have saved fit together in a unique way, and we write our book.
Writing doesn’t happen automatically. First we have to find time to observe and to feel and to remember. Only then we are able to write, like a scribe who has been living our life inside of us and taking notes about it.
Kim Stafford, whose book The Muses Among Us is personally the most amazing guide to writing well that I have ever encountered, observed that: “When I write, I am secretary to a wisdom the world has made available to me.”
That is exactly how I feel when I sit down to put together many chapters on the theme of a book. I feel that all of the observations I make, the stories I tell, and the imagery I select come to me from that well of life experience that I have been carefully chronicling like a secretary to my world every day for hundreds of days, weeks, and months.
This works for me so well because as I start each new book, it is not from a completely blank slate. I can go to my well of observations and memories and collected wisdom from all the sources of people, places and things that touch my life.
I understand that the great composer Mozart could come home from the concert hall and write an entire symphony he had just heard from memory. He had trained his brain so acutely to remember how all the notes went together that it just fell out of his brain.
That is what we need to do with our stories and our life experiences. We need to come home and jot them down in their entirety from memory, understanding how all of them go together.
Try recording in handwriting just one or two of today’s most amazing moments and do that every day at some point for a month. At the end, go back and read what you thought mattered each day and be amazed at the vividness of your memories and how in its own way, a pattern of thought emerges.
Soon you will have enough to get started on your book and you will find the time, because you will be suddenly confident that you have a story worthy to be told. In all of us is the story of our lives, and they are all unique stories to be told and enjoyed.
Paula Morand is a leadership building, revenue boosting, strategy expanding keynote speaker, author and visionary. This dreaming big and being bold leadership expert and brand strategist brings her vibrant energy, humor and wisdom to ignite individuals, organizations and communities to lead change, growth and impact in a more bold fashion.
24 years, 27,000 clients, 34 countries, 15 books, former radio personality, 11x award winning entrepreneur and humorous emcee.
Check out Paula’s bestselling books on Amazon: “Bold Courage: How Owning Your Awesome Changes Everything”, “Dreaming BIG and Being BOLD: Inspiring stories from Trailblazers, Visionaries and Change Makers” book series; and due to be released in March 2018 “Bold Vision: A Leader’s Playbook for Managing Growth”.
For speaking inquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll-free 1-888-502-6317.
David Gouthro | Feb 20, 2018 at 3:54 pm
Feel like I’ve been pierced by dozens of arrows directed at my heart, Paula. Guess the only way to start removing them one at a time is to get writing. Thanks for the kick in the butt. Could have been a little more gentle; however I realize I can’t always get what I want (feel a song coming on now)!