Sometimes You’ve Got To Shut Out The Noise
“If you want to be a good writer, you have to be a good liver (of life)”
It’s been over two weeks since writer GG Renee said this during the Digital Storytelling Convos series that she hosts with writer Ashley Thomas of Write Laugh Dream.com, and her words still convict me. It’s not that I haven’t always known that writers have to live the types of experiences that they want to write about. Her words, as simple and direct as they are, reiterate for me how much living I have to do to tell the types of stories that I want to tell as a writer. They also make me realize how much mining I continue to have to do in my life thus far to turn past experiences and current observations into resonating work.
But being a good liver of life is one of the hardest things in this life to do.
Why? Being good at living, or “living your best life” as Oprah calls it, is hard because of all of the many distractions that we allow to sway us from getting to know ourselves well enough to know what our best life is. We’ll say an emphatic “yes!” when people like Oprah drop jewels on Super Soul Sunday on how to live our best lives. We’ll buy Brene Brown’s books, Oprah’s The Things I Know For Sure, and other best life manuals just to be too distracted by our present lives to actually read, absorb, and most importantly, implement what is between the covers of these books. I admit that I’m a collector of these types of books, watcher of these types of shows, and an enrollee of these types of masterclasses and courses. They sit on my shelf unread or sit in the queue of my computer unwatched and undone as I tumble through a life that has me being much more of a spectator than I thought I’d be. I spend more time on my various devices scrolling through the life that I think I’d like to have than I do on building this life for myself.
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Whenever I fall into a rut of doubting myself or whenever I start to become confused about what I should do next in my writing life and beyond, the first thing I do is shut out the noise. In a previous post, I’ve talked about the need to do this in order to maintain a consistent writing ritual, but regularly going “off the grid” for periods of time is also essential to having a clear understanding about what your goals are, how those goals support your quest for your authentic self, and how to execute those goals.
We live in a world in which the opinion of others and the emotional appeal from others are having increasingly more influence on how we conduct our personal lives. It doesn’t surprise me that many new writers and even seasoned writers struggle at times with maintaining their own unique voice or setting goals that are true to who they are because we are constantly inundated with what everyone thinks we should do, should say, or should strive for. It’s OK to take a break from all of these perspectives and opinions when you find yourself overwhelmed and moving further away from the things that make you who you are.
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Sometimes other people’s opinions don’t matter, especially when they interfere with the very intimate process of the self work writers many times must do to create great work.
Ashley Thomas said that 2017 will be the year that we lean into our own creativity and spend less time consuming content of others. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t support other content creators, and I have my faves that I will definitely still support next year, but it does mean that 2017 can be a year in which you become less dependent on direction from others and truly blossom into the unique writer or other creative professional that you were meant to be. I think the thing that blocks most of us from having lucrative businesses and creating the work that we want to create is the fact that we don’t want to take a chance on ourselves. Take that chance in 2017. I know I will.
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