Life’s lessons, big and small, are the essential experiences that wake us up and bring us back to our true selves and a simpler way of being.
Some of my best (and most difficult) lessons have become rules to live by, and for the next several weeks I’ll share some of my favorites in a blog series (in no particular order).
#1 Write like you talk
Many years ago I was in a writing group, and this was their constant critique.
“What are you trying to say here?” they would ask, I would explain, and they would reply, “Write what you just said; just write how you talk”.
Initially this bummed me out because I spent hours laboring over the details of my writing pieces: Don’t they know the time I put into this? They didn’t even acknowledge my gorgeous sentence structure and my amazing vocabulary choices!
Unfortunately, years of formal education and term papers turned writing into a process of proving myself and demonstrating my knowledge, a way of expressing what I thought I should know rather than expressing what I genuinely felt. It pushed my authentic voice way back into a corner somewhere, quiet and afraid that if it spoke it would be “wrong”.
Confronting this was difficult - writing like everyone else keeps you safe and saying what others say keeps you “normal”. Writing without rules or not following somebody else’s lead leaves you hanging out there alone feeling vulnerable.
But at the very same time, it’s awesome. The shift from “trying to be” to just “being” is like taking off a heavy armor suit. Writing is more heart-centered, less head-focused, and it feels like you’re sharing a piece of yourself with the world.
Write like you talk is a deep and layered lesson closely aligned with other awarenesses: speak your truth, say what you mean, trust what you know.
Instead of focusing on what you think others want to hear (and c’mon, how do we really know what “others” want to hear? That’s a crazy belief system in itself), you just say what you feel.
Writing like I talk made an impact on my teaching and my socialization – don’t just write how you talk, teach how you talk, talk as you talk. Don’t control, over prepare, and decide how it should be; just take it as it comes and roll with the feeling rather than attaching to a planned outcome.
Elation, relief, freedom.
Of course, I haven’t mastered this; it’s just a practice – a daily practice. It’s a mantra, a reminder, a guidance system when two of my favorite things, writing and talking, begin to feel heavy.
Write like you talk, say what you mean, trust what you know, be who you are.
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