Renegotiating Rules – why I write
Why do I write? Seems like an easy enough question.
I was invited to be part of a writers’ blog tour by the lovely Erin Casey – writer, book coach, editor, and contributing editor for SUCCESS magazine.
The remit: blog about why you write. Then introduce your readers to three other people to do the same a week later.
Sounds simple enough. A little bit like the old chain letters, except without the death threats and promises of wealth and love. Hmm… more about that later.
So why do I write?
Eight years or so ago, when I started blogging, it was for my own sanity. It was my way of making sense of the world I found myself in – sleep deprived, dazed, confused, with the most important job in the world and no idea how to do it well. Here’s one of the first posts I ever wrote about motherhood.
These days, writing is still the place where I make sense of things. Conversations spark ideas, but writing is where I wrestle with them, work on them, hone my ideas and put my finger on exactly what I’m trying to say. Writing is my process for clarity.
Engage and Encourage
When I started my coaching business, one piece of advice I was given was to pick one way of connecting with your audience and focus on that. Add all the other bells and whistles later. I was completely brand new to public speaking at that point, I’d just moved to a new area so while I went networking, I certainly wasn’t well connected, but writing I knew. Writing I’d done – and loved – since I was a child. Writing was my safe option. Writing was my strength.
Nowadays, writing is still where many people connect with me first. It has become the a safe place for other people to get to know me. They can wait in the wings of anonymity and get to know me first, before they decide if they want to engage in further conversation.
It’s the part of me I give away – an invitation into my head and my world. Those who like what they read, and want more, invite me into their head and their world. Whether we take it further or not, it is always my hope and privilege to encourage and inspire.
I decided a while ago that writing for me would be an expression, not a chore. That’s the reason why there are no dates on this blog. It gives me the freedom to write from the heart, not out of obligation.
At a time where the prevailing wisdom was that you had to write regularly, at least once a week, and preferably the same time every week, I decided to buck the trend and break the rules. Because I knew that if writing became a chore, I would be writing for all the wrong reasons – and that would show in my writing. It would be dry and mechanical. It would not bring clarity to me or encouragement to you.
Funny thing is, I do write once a week now, as my Monday Momentum message to you. It’s taken me several years to get to this point. And to let you into a little secret, I still don’t plan my posts. I have an ideas park full of titles and topics, but I don’t have a blogging schedule or calendar. Each week, I write about the thing that’s on my mind or has gripped my heart. That way, I’m always writing from my truth, and I hope, giving you my best.
Which brings me back to this chain letter thing.
When I agreed to write this, I did so because I thought it was a good idea. I thought it might start an interesting conversation. I agreed to do it because I wanted to help Erin out, and yes, I was flattered to be asked. There are also some stonking writers I’d love to introduce you to.
But when I contacted them, I found myself chasing people, asking them to commit to the one thing I had actively avoided – the obligation to write to a set time.
So I’m sorry. If you’re a stickler for the rules, look away now. I’m going to break the rules.
I’m going to introduce you to my three favourite writers, but only one has actually agreed to be part of the blog tour. The other two have their attention on other commitments right now, but in my book, that doesn’t take anything away from their writing. In fact it probably adds to it. So I’m going to introduce you to them anyway.
There’s no obligation whatsoever for them to continue the tour, but I’m sure they’ll introduce you to other writers in their own time and their own way, because they are all incredibly generous people. And fabulous writers. Enjoy.
Bev is a speaker and writer based in Australia. After over 30 years as a senior church leader, leadership mentor and church planter, Bev is a now embarking on a PhD exploring the responsibility patriarchy plays in the commodification of women and girls. Passionate about being an influencer for growth and development, Bev works with leaders and emerging leaders, both women and men, to help them become their strongest and most effective self at at BevMurrill.com.
I absolutely loved Bev’s book “Speak Life and Shut the Hell Up”, always come away from our conversations inspired and challenged, and am in awe of the fact that she’s been married 43 years (to the same person) with four fantastic children, 4 wonderful children in law and nine unspeakably amazing grandchildren.
She has carved out an inspiring track record of working with and developing hundreds of leaders, coaches and individuals across the world and is described as dynamic, passionate, practical, challenging and supportive… and as “human caffeine!”
Always striving to be an exceptional role model in her consultancy, coaching and facilitation, it is Jenny’s personal quest to inspire and encourage others in all their encounters with her and to enable them to feel fired up and energised in the work they do – and that’s absolutely what Jenny does for me. Every. Time. Her “Wake Your Life Up” emails are one of the only newsletters I make a point of reading each week.
Get a dose of Jenny at JennyFlintoft.com.
But in the interest of completion, she is a writer, a full time freelance copywriter, content creator and storyteller at JosieGeorge.co.uk, where she has the only set of T&Cs I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.
A single mum to a lively five year old, Josie’s days revolve entirely around words, food, naps and answering questions such as “Do Stormtroopers have swimming lessons?” She’s made it her life’s ambition to wrestle with the truth of life in all its complicated messiness and prove that being kind, to yourself and other people, is the most important hobby you can ever take on.
The Bad Day Blog aims to stand as a testament to that.
What about YOU?
If you find yourself feeling bogged down, burdened or uninspired by your commitments, perhaps it’s time for a little renegotiation. Here are three suggestions to get you started:
1. Know your reasons why – not just your big WHY, but your little why’s along the way.
Why do you do what you do? Why are you running that particular marketing campaign, in that way? What have you committed to doing this week? What’s your reason for doing it?
“Because someone else told/asked me to” is not a good enough reason. It won’t motivate you, it won’t call the best out of you. You need to find your reason.
2. How does serving others serve you?
Sounds like a selfish question, but really it’s not.
Your strengths are the things that strengthen you. When you operate from that place of strength, when your work calls you to be the best of who you are, your passion grows, your work is energising and you have a natural hunger to hone your craft. It’s hard work, but never a chore.
I’m a firm believer that when you’re passionate, on purpose and giving the best of who you are, your work becomes as much a blessing to you as you are to others.
If that’s not how you feel about your work or life right now – let’s talk.
3. Don’t be afraid to renegotiate the rules.
I’ve had many conversations with clients and friends who are not writers, who have asked me to help them with their writing. Sometimes it’s been more a case of confidence or getting past internal blocks, but sometimes, it’s simply because they don’t like writing. It’s not their thing.
If it’s not your thing, why force yourself to do it? Renegotiate the rules. How else could you get the message across? Could you speak, shoot a video, draw, paint, make something, or get someone else to write for you?
Practice unorthodoxy. Challenge convention. How could you do it differently and get the same or even better results? When you get something really working for you, chances are that’s when the world gets to see your best work.
Over to you: I’d love to hear what this post inspires you to rethink or renegotiate. Or if you’ve been practising unorthodoxy and renegotiation lately, do share your experience in the comments below.