A close friend recently said I should share more. Actually, several friends have given similar advice, summed up in the words, “Tammy, you really should write more.”
“But, I’m not a writer,” I say.
“Plus, there’s not enough time in the world, AND there are already so many voices online that I can’t keep up with it all anymore, AND I like my privacy, AND it stresses me out to even think of having to keep up with creating content for my own site, but most importantly. . .I’m NOT a writer.”
Do you see where I’m going with this?
Even while writing that first paragraph I’ve squashed an argument between my (adorable) sons, watched my eldest son perform top secret fighting moves on his LEGO Ninjago game, been asked to pour a glass of milk by the littlest one, and listened to the Beyblade Burst theme song multiple times – it’s parenting in full swing.
How can I write and share my work when I’m busy working, creating, (over) thinking, parenting, sleeping, volunteering, cooking, cleaning and everything-else-ing? All I hear them saying is, “Tammy, you should really add one more thing to your to-do list!”
Plus, as if time limitations aren’t enough – I also do NOT like conflict. Some people love debates and being challenged, but that’s not me. Challenge is not something I intentionally set out to encounter or to incite in my everyday life, but writing and sharing opens you up to being challenged in your thoughts and ideas. There’s no way to put your foot in your mouth when you don’t say anything at all! You won’t be misquoted. You can’t be misunderstood. You’re never wrong (technically). Ahhhh, that sounds heavenly doesn’t it? For an Enneagram #9, INTJ, introvert like myself – yes, yes it does.
I like to think that adopting a non-sharing philosophy actually increases productivity by not inviting any unwanted elements into your work and life flow. There are no “likes” to tally, no comments to mull over, and no outside opinions to process beyond those of lovingly supportive family and friends. It’s simple really.
But is moving so far into productivity and progress that we forget to share/invite/connect the best path forward? I’m starting to think it’s not.
I’ve spent the last two decades helping people visually share their ideas, so I’ve seen firsthand how rewarding it can be to have an idea come to mind, then to see it be expressed. And it’s even more exciting when the idea inspires someone else, and they build on the idea creating an even better version.
In the book Show Your Work by Austin Kleon, he quoted another writer/consultant when he said:
The stupidest creative act is still a creative act… On the spectrum of creative work, the difference between the mediocre and the good is vast. Mediocrity is, however, still on the spectrum; you can move from mediocre to good in increments. The real gap is between doing nothing and doing something.Clay Shirky, Cognitive Surplus
Ahhh, the gap between doing nothing and doing something is real indeed. Getting started is super hard and not as rewarding, especially when the early drafts and mock ups aren’t so great. But we ALL have to start somewhere. No one is born an expert or a professional.
So this is my attempt to start my journey of sharing. . .
I see the importance of freely exchanging ideas and expressing ourselves through journaling, creative writing, song writing, artistic endeavors – it all has value.
From silly social media posts, random tweets and viral TikTok videos to insightful Clubhouse discussions and informative podcasts, all of these modern modes of sharing provide us with a continuous stream of old and new ideas, old and new sources of inspiration, old and new perspectives.
Lately I’ve been finding unexpected sources of inspiration from the writings and experiences of others. I can pinpoint many times in my life where reading someone else’s stories of trial and error, flat-out failure, lucky successes or hard work were just what I needed at that moment to get me going. Sharing experiences inspires us.
Stories from the Bible teach us about life and give us hope. Personal testimonies from people we know can inspire us. Funny anecdotes entertain us and lighten the mood during a pandemic (thank you Kev On Stage). Stories with “imperfect” endings remind us of life’s unpredictability. Sharing stories connect us.
I may not be a writer, but it’s time for me to commit to making forward progress along my personal creative spectrum from mediocre toward good. I encourage you to jump beyond your impossible and make this your year to close the gap from doing nothing to doing something. Find the time to connect the dots, bring your ideas to life, share your journey, and encourage others to do the same!