Writing in Times of Cabin Fever
Artists, designers, painters, woodworkers, crafters . . . all of us who put our hands in our heads . . .
First we learn the habits and tools of what we do.
Then we take on the values they represent.
The real tools of writing are thoughts and ideas.
The real values are the relationships we make with them.
We call the time cabin fever. It’s the end of Chicago winter — no sun, not much sunshine in people. Everyone’s tired of being cooped up. One dismal Sunday last March, I wrote WritingÃ¢â¬âUgh! 10 Reasons to Get Jazzed about Writing.
Jazz helps when you’ve got cabin fever.
Then it was over. The sun finally came, and we wrote. We wrote through spring tulips, young love, and baseball season. We wrote through summer vacations, the World Cup, and fireworks. We got into some serious writing.
Like everyone who’s been busy writing, I didn’t stop to notice much. Until today, now I’m jazzed all over again!
YEAH! Now I’ve got . . .
10 WHOLE NEW Reasons to Get Jazzed about Writing
The original 10 reason still hold fast. Writing is a phenomenal tool. What I’ve discovered are new reasons are about how writing has made a difference in our lives.
Here’s what I see and why I’m jazzed all over again.
1. Writing has given us a place we can meet. We talk about writing — in public now. Think back a few months, a few years, talking about writing was something that got left behind in school and in writers’ groups, or it was the private venue of folks who worked in intellectual property. Now it’s become the conversation of regular people.
2. Writing has led us to read more. In order to write, we read. Many of us read more than we ever did before. We read to find out what folks write about. We read to find ideas. We read to find out our own thoughts. We read more than we would if we didn’t write.
3. Writing leads us to read like writers. “If it’s in print, it must be true.” Remember that? Writing takes the shine off the coin and the glamour off the print. We’re not so quick to be taken in by words that “look” good. We’re separating fact from opinion more quickly and more accurately, and letting folks know when they get mixed up about them.
4. Writing has brought more of us to care about how we write. Good enough isn’t the standard any more. What once was a “have to” has become a “want to.” We’re learning to write for ourselves and our readers, not for our job roles and our teachers’ approval.
5. Wrting is making us better communicators. People talk back and push ideas forward. We’re having conversations we never would have had were we not writing. Each communication offers a secret something new that adds to what we already know about writing and people.
6. Writing builds confidence and expertise. Every piece we write is just that much better than the last — over time it shows. Go back and look. Have you stopped to see how much better your writing is since you started? . . . how much more you know? Other folks have. That’s why they read what you write.
7. Writing allows us to think more deeply — a crucial skill. People don’t spend time typing “small talk.” Only weather folks type about the weather, and when they do, they’re not having casual conversation. We organize our thoughts before we publish them. We consider the world differently in search of ideas and points of view to write about. We think about the folks who will read what we write. We no longer think on the surface of ideas. We’re learning to push past sound-bytes and infosnacks, so that readers have something to respond to.
8. Writing can make us better listeners and better people. We’re finding out people say the same things in different ways. Writing is the best way to learn that different doesn’t mean wrong, and letting go is the first step in learning. Sometimes folks send our message back in entirely new ways — they hear something valuable, but not what we said. We learn to listen to them and to ourselves as well.
9. Writing is contagious, builds relationships, and changes lives. Writing great content still means search engine ranking and link popularity. It also means people — real human beings. People come who take an interest in the writer. Writing begets writing. Conversations lead to conversations. Relationships grow between like minds, and people meet. How many folks have you written to in the last week? How many of those people will you meet in your life? How many folks have you met that you trust?
10. Writing can break down walls and build communities. Corporations are finding that customers write. Big companies are taking down their brick walls to listen and starting to write back to us. Walls are falling down all over the Internet. Communities are replacing them. There were 456 comments from people across the world who were talking to each other about their favorite neighborhood. Enough said.
You might find other ways on the Internet to communicate — podcasting, video — but they’re not the same.
Writing is interactive, individual and social, makes a person think first and filter out thoughts that don’t matter. What I realized today is the greatest way that writing is changing us.
We’re becoming literate people who know more about ourselves, the world, and each other.
Now . . . . I’m even more jazzed about writing than I was last March.
Can you blame me?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
The 9 Rights of Every Writer Ã¢â¬â Peer Pressure Is for Jr. High School
4+6 Things to a Product Review Even James Bond Would Trust
Why Dave Barry and Liz DonÃ¢â¬â¢t Get WriterÃ¢â¬â¢s Block