I have always put pen to paper. For as long as I can remember I have loved words, stories, and the connection and meaning they have on our lives. In elementary school, writing stories came naturally to me. Maybe it was because the crazy amount of books I read. The books inspired me to write and create my own version of reality. Writing for me came in a variety of forms. I often wrote in a journal and recapped my world, my questions, my painful moments, and sometimes the happy times. Although often I found I was lead to write when things were not good, as it was a way to process and formulate my thoughts and feelings.
For a few years in elementary school, I was the class representative to go to a Young Author’s Conference in my town, where you would bring your handmade book and had to read it in front of a group. If I remember correctly there were even finalists from the conference that went to a state version. In fourth and fifth grade, there was the “Little Hoosiers” writing contest, where we were to write about someone in our life that had grown up in Indiana. One year I wrote about my Great Aunt E’Beth, someone I had interacted with only a few times. She was related to us on my grandmother’s side of the family and had an interesting life. I researched her and her husband’s impact on my hometown in the early 1920’s. It was interesting to learn how integral and active they were in the community, and I found out later that I had won second place in Indiana for my essay on Aunt E’Beth.
Short stories, research/historical writing, and journal writing… there were so many ways that words inspired me. Then something happened. Life got crazy taking care of my mom, college, and then taking care of my grandma. Other things consumed me. I stopped writing and processing a world that sometimes did not always make much sense. Eventually I began to write in a journal almost daily. I made notes of quotes that inspired me. I made sure to spend time every day writing. But nothing like I did as a child. I wrote for me, but never really went back and explored the short fiction writing that I did as a kid. I think about it often and even dream about what it would be like to have a book pour out of my fingertips.
If you write, are a writer, or have that urge to let the words flow, I encourage you to write just a little bit everyday. There is something inside me that wants to go back to being that little girl and write all the crazy ideas that came into my head. I know one day my mind will quiet enough to let the words inside come out. For now, and over the last 3 years my writing has morphed into this blog, and I hope the ideas that have escaped my mind have inspired and uplifted those of you that read random olio.
Have you ever thought about how words matter? Writing is my world. Yes, I have other strengths and focuses, but at the end of the day, if I could do what I wanted it would be to write, play on the potter’s wheel, bring out a blow torch and do encaustic paintings, oh the list goes on and always tends to involve creative outputs. Words, though, dictate so much. You can provide a visual explanation of art through a painting, but to me words can bluntly or eloquently tell folks what you really think. They matter. They change emotions, moods, and communicate a variety of informative details.
Words alone do nothing. They have to be interspersed with tone, intention, care, and purpose. Without the emotion and care words have meaning but they stand alone. Sometimes even with the best intentions, how words are communicated can turn individuals away, make them feel guarded, alone, separate. With the best intentions and carefully crafted, words can make individuals feel included, respected, and valued. Words matter.
I am passionate about the selection of words, their meaning, and their intent. I think about it for almost every email I draft, every communication I write — whether for work, or among friends. I wonder, though, do we all think about our words and their effects on those around us? Do we write to make others feel inspired, engaged, and excited about what they are reading? Sometimes. Other times our words fall on deaf ears because we do not communicate well. We miss moments and opportunities to have a direct connection with our reader.
Yes, words matter. Think about that as you draft that next email, communication, blog post, Facebook post, whatever vehicle you use to share your ideas. You might find, as you focus on the words, you receive a different response from your reader.
I have wanted to frame the quote: “You are responsible for the energy you bring into this home.” I think of that idea often. It can translate into so many other places. “You are responsible for the energy you bring to this company, this job, this friendship, this marriage.” We are each responsible for our own energy. Do you think about that before entering or responding to a situation? Do you put yourself first, and think responsibly about the state of your energy before helping or saying: “Yes” to others? It will matter and help or hinder your ability to respond appropriately.
You are in the driver’s seat. Sometimes I think we forget that. We think “well I could not get out of this situation, it happened, it was bad timing.” Sometimes that might be true, but other times we have a choice, and we either forget, or do not challenge ourselves to be our best selves. You do truly create each moment of your day. Well…actually, you create how you react to each moment of each day. The best way to do so is to put yourself first. It is not selfish, it is self-care to make sure you are grounded and prepared to handle any curve balls that are thrown your way. I recently caught up on a stack of old Fast Company magazines, and found this article by Devora Zack. The article is about managers that suck, which is funny because I am not at all interested in the title of the article, but found this great quote, on what we can focus on, and control. It could be popped right out of the article and speak for itself:
“In fact, you only directly control three things in the entire world. Interestingly, none of these are other people. You are in charge of your thoughts, your words, and your actions. That’s it. Most of us neglect these three key items, however. Instead we direct our precious, limited energy on thinking and talking about how others should be different. This is fruitless and even lazy. As long as I’m focused on what’s wrong with you, I don’t need to pay any attention to improving me.”
As Zack states, we have control over our thoughts, words, and actions. We probably all know that already. We just forget about it. Together let’s focus our energy on what matters. Focus on our ourselves, and watch the energy we bring into each conversation. I have a hunch that the more you focus on it the more aware you will be on how you handle your energy in good and bad situations.