Maybe writers should try painting

For about a decade I’ve written almost daily and in the past 7 months I don’t think a day has gone by that I haven’t written.

But I recently started to wonder if I should stop writing. Not altogether but to simply take a break. I’m not sure what the benefits would be but it would definitely be a challenge.

Writing is embedded in me, it’s part of who I am. It’s the thing I do when I’m bored, inspired, overwhelmed, thinking, planning or looking to capture a moment or feeling.

I suppose like with any creative thing it’s good to take breaks and refresh your mind. Or even try creating in a new medium, painting for example.

How strange it would feel to pick up a brush instead of pen. It would be like flexing a new muscle or an old one in a new way.

But perhaps in that space of strangeness, newness and unfamiliarity there’s something worth exploring.

Reasons to stop checking the stats

Focus on doing things that are helpful and try not to get distracted by the seemingly significant things that are also known as stuff.

If 764 people read this post, I might come to the conclusion that I should write ‘Reasons to…’ posts more or that this length or writing style is the winning combo.

But in doing that I wouldn’t be giving myself the freedom to explore and develop as a writer. At the crux of it when you have a passion for something it will never just be about the numbers. It’ll always be more about the feeling, something you can’t measure.

When you’re in-flow and the words pour out with an almost trance like ease it might not be the most popular piece of work you’ve created but it took something for you to create it.

Even if you find a formulas that works you still have to innovate to some degree and after a while you might get bored because you’re no longer just being creative.

The use of a formula adds rigidity and constraints.

Checking the stats could also be done for reassurance that there’s at least one persons on planet earth reading what you’ve written and there’s nothing wrong with that because nobody puts stuff out there for it to go unread.

You might find a way to convince yourself that checking the stats will make you as better writer when the truth is writing will make you a better writer. The stats are just a distraction.

 

The importance of exploring

Who are you when you visit new places alone?

Who are you when you deliver a presentation?

Who are you when you’re under pressure with a deadline looming?

I think it’s important to go out and explore these things as a way to explore yourself. Sometimes mediation helps, looking inwards is great but don’t get so caught in those internal things that you don’t actually take action.

You don’t want to spend your life wondering about certain aspects of yourself that you never allowed yourself to experience.

 

Self-discovery

Don’t spend so much time trying to figure yourself out and. Pondering and ruminating on where you fit in and the kind of person that you are.

Give yourself some credit and remember that you aren’t so simple that you fit into a neat box or that you’re easy to label.

You’re complex and ever-evolving.

There is comfort in being able to say I’m this kind of person and this is what I like . But often when we do that we don’t give ourselves room to grow.┬áThe last thing you want is is to end up boxed into limitations of your own making.

Go out and explore yourself, what does it mean to be you? It might be strange and beautiful but that’s okay.

You might find that you’re a juxtaposition of messy and particular, simple and complex, a painter and a scientist, there’s endless possibilities and it would be a shame to never find out.

According to the dictionary app on my phone self-discovery is ‘The learning of what kind of person one really is, or what one really wants to do with ones life’.

I think that is something worth pursuing.

 

 

You might not be who you think you are

From a young age we start to develop an identity, a sense of self.

This is influenced by a variety of factors such as family, friends, books, music, religion, TV and film.

And so we go around living our lives with an identity of who we are. But it’s often much more complex than that.

As humans, having a sense of self is important to our development because life is easier when you know yourself.

But in a rush to reach that knowing we often end up skipping the pivotal exploration period of really delving in and asking the question of who am I?

So we settle for what influences us a combination of what we see and what people tell us to be. We end up thinking that that is who we are when their is a whole other self to be explored.

Settlers and explorers

Some people choose to settle because they want a life of comfort, stability and familiarity. Or maybe it’s that they’ve figured out what they want from life or what they want to pursue.

Some people choose to explore because they have trust in the part of them that is curious to experience more in life and enjoy they the constant newness that comes with the explorers way of life.

Sometimes settlers become explorers when they realise how little they have experienced or when they gain this hunger for more.

Sometimes explorers become settlers when they grow tired of going from place to place or thing to thing and they feel fulfilled by what they have experienced.

Fear might hold you back from branching out and trying something new. But, as good as life might seem, you may find that it is just the sense of comfort that you crave not the life you’re currently living.

Or perhaps you choose the life of a wanderer because you crave the feeling of freedom. But you might just be running from something and it’s easy to make excuses when live your life in a way so that you’re constantly unsettled.

I think for me a mix of the 2 is necessary because you can gain so much from both ways of living.

Aspects of self

Growing up in watched a lot of TV and became really interested in characters, how we define ourselves and labels.

I think that is where my interest in people, the human experience and eventually social science came from.

I grew up trying to figure out who I was and what labels fit me. I was constantly trying to put myself in a box thinking that this would be the best way to understand myself.

But it didn’t work. We’re much more complex than we give ourselves credit.

Over time I find myself regularly discovering new aspects of myself. Some of them fit the story I used to tell myself of who I am and others don’t.

But unlike in the past I’m no longer trying to fit into boxes, I’m actually willing to explore myself and my humanness and all the aspects of self that I discover along the way.