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It’s been a hard Spring. As maybe some of you have noticed, I haven’t been blogging much in the past few months. Not only was it a tough winter in New England, but I had a bunch of personal challenges happening to me also that took up a lot of my mental energy. I’ve also been lucky enough that I’ve been getting a lot if new career consulting clients, so that’s kept me busy and away from writing.
Now that we’re finally starting to have consistent good weather here in Massachusetts, I’m starting to have the mental space to get my thoughts together. I’ve been working more at being consistent in my morning meditations and yoga practice, as well as get some reflection time in. It feels so nice to feel like I’ve got what I call “mind space” to actually be more responsive instead of reactive.
Part of that now is that I really need to take more time to be creative. I performed at the New England Folk Festival and it brought back to me that I need to do more music playing (and practicing) as well as doing more artwork. I set a goal for myself in 2013 to produce 200 pieces of art (a doodle in my journal counts. It’s about volume here, not quality). I’m up to 17 so I’ve got to kill the critic and just start producing.
Additionally, I’ve reconnected with a great muse who I’ve known for years, but we’ve started to look at ways that we can collaborate to a deeper extent. Tara Rodden Robinson is a specialist in productivity and coaching, and has a great energy (check out her blog and website!). In talking with her, I lamented that I haven’t been writing much recently, and her response was “Ken, you’ve got too much to offer. Get writing!”
So, with that, here I am again. So, Tara, this blog post is for you!
So, what do you need to return to?
This post marks my 100th blog post. I started in December 2009, and wanted to get myself into the practice of writing (I’ve joked that I’m writing my book a blog post at a time). I’ve written about a lot of things, but the themes, as best as I’ve been able to keep to them, is the listening to one’s own authentic self and then seeing how that can be manifested in the world. As my professional area is career development, I’ve also shared my philosophies about how one can best identify what is mist precious and to state your best case about doing that for others. I’ve gotten a few comments here, and many more in person or other venues, that people have appreciated what I’ve had to say and it’s helped them in their professional journey.
After having written so much, I’ve learned some things about myself and the process, and how people have reacted to my words. Some of my learnings are:
- You’d be surprised at what gets the most comments. Topics that I thought were the most benign can sometimes get the most heated debate.
- There’s always something to write about. Even if it’s what you had for lunch, if it makes you think about something bigger in life, it can be a blog post.
- You’d be surprised who is most interested in your writing. Someone random will tell me that they follow my blog every post and have gotten a lot out of it, and I didn’t think they even knew about it!
- Writing a blog is fine, but you have to get people to read it. There’s a lot of things to read, and the struggle is getting eyes on your words.
- Forcing yourself to write is a good practice, like doing many other things that you know are good for you but take effort.
- Writing about events in your life can be cathartic, in that it forces you to think through things and present them in a way that shows your reflected on things and how you want to be seen.
- Practice makes perfect. Keep doing things and you’ll get better at them.
So, what have you learned from doing something 100 times?
When I was in college, I had a real problem with English classes. I would pull an all-nighter over a two page paper. I just didn’t seem to get how to write. I thought there was some way I was supposed to write that no one was telling me.
I finally took an intensive poetry class, and that’s when I was introduced to structured poems like villanelles. In that form, there is a particular line count and rhyming scheme to follow. Once I got that, it allowed for my creative part to come out, and I was then able to write in other forms as I accessed my creative side. I then knew that I just needed to write like I talk and I’m in my element.
This has two lessons for my writing here:
- As I have written about before, many people freak out about writing there resumes and cover letters because they don’t know what to say and are trying to get it right. Again, write like you speak (professionally of course) and let it be a reflection of you.
- This past Thursday, I had s biopsy that confirmed what I had feared. I am gluten intolerant aka I have Celiac disease. This means that that my body has a systemic reaction to gluten (wheat, rye, and barley) where it kills off the villi in your small intestines so that you don’t absorb nutrients. The only way to manage this is to eliminate gluten entirely from my diet. Yes, that’s right; no more beer! Given that I have been a vegetarian for over 25 years and I have a string sensitivity to any foods with high sulfur concentrations (major one being eggs), I am limiting my diet even more. This is going to be a tough transition, but I’m going to have to find that inner creative and see what I can do with this. Thank God Trader Joe’s has a lot of gluten free options.
So, what restrictions do you have and how are you being creative in getting around them?