For many of us, art, craft, playing and experimenting – that little thing called creativity – was lost somewhere along the way when life got busy. As a teenager, I recall being mortified at the thought of someone finding out I pressed flowers. So I stopped. When I danced, the very essence of self-expression in my youth, I felt inhibited and out of touch with my body. So I quit that too. Even getting above-average English grades in high school, I felt inadequate with the written word. And you guessed it. I knocked that one on the head as well.
Taking a corporate writing position after graduating, it took me several years to become comfortable with the “writer” job title. For some reason, I didn’t feel I deserved the label because I wasn’t creative, didn’t write anything except business stuff, and had all but stopped writing years earlier. Or had I?
When I try to pinpoint when I stopped writing, I can’t remember a day going by when I didn’t write. I may not have seen it as actively and consciously sitting down to create, journaling, poetry, creative writing and all that good stuff. But all of us write all of the time, without realising, every single day. I never actually stopped. I just zoned out, took it for granted, and wrote without thinking, the humdrum of life all around.
Luckily, if we become conscious when writing, we can turn some of our daily chore writing into a creative and expressive moment. You’re probably already do many of these things, but being present when you choose your words can transform a dull daily task into a pleasure.
Here are some places to infuse some language love into your life.
- Do you doodle? On the phone, in a meeting, taking notes, making lists, brighten up that notepad and be playful.
- Need to pass a message along? Instead of a quick instruction scrawled on the back of an envelope, leave a love note for your nearest and dearest to find. Telling people why you love them equals immediate feel-good factor.
- Remember when people used to write letters? The time people would take over correspondence was a mindful experience in itself. None of this quick type and fire off of emails that we have nowadays. Nonetheless, connecting with someone you haven’t spoken to in a while can be a joy. Admit it, you already check your email way too much anyway. You might as well write to someone you like.
- Turn to social media and work it. While Facebook can be a creative drain, thoughtful sharing on Pinterest or the challenge of expressing something in 140 characters can help you think outside the box.
- Send someone a card with encouraging words for a special occasion… or just for the heck of it. Turning an obligatory birthday card into a beautiful moment is one thing. Sending a card for no reason at all gives both sides an instant lift. Bonus points if you make the card yourself!
- Be someone’s “engagement”. Say something helpful on a cute little blog you love. When you post a comment for a blogger, they’ll get a little thrill and you can come up with extra tips of your own to move the conversation along.
- Take the time to write a proper text message. Lose the textspeak. Let sum1 know u could b bothered 2 write.
- Fill in a customer comment card telling a member of staff who really touched your day that you’re grateful for their attentive service. When we infuse genuine appreciation into our words, reflecting carefully of how to express our gratitude, we connect our emotions and the task in hand, exercising our creative brains.
- Write a review for a film, book, bar, restaurant or product you’ve particularly noticed. Again, small businesses are always appreciative of a few kind words. Your words could be just what turns someone who’s a “maybe” into a “yes, yes, yes”!
- Has someone asked you for some information recently? Do the research and report back. Instead of a dry presentation, add a personal touch in the way you convey the facts.
- When you write your lists, keep them light. Try to think up some motivating mantras that you can scatter around the edges of your long list of things to do.
Treasuring every word and using positive language, you’ll soon remember the joy of writing. Who knows? What once was a chore may become fun!
I have a squillion and one ways to kickstart your writing. So sign up at krisemery.com and get writing inspiration direct to your inbox.
Kris Emery is a writer and editor, and the author of Freelance Your Heart Out. After playing word nerd through her early 20s and nabbing a couple of linguistics quals, she bounced off to London enthusiastically. Only to have the stuffing kicked out of her by a pretty draining day job. She started out as a staff writer there, but left behind her in-house days to plunge into freelancing.
Having been there herself, now she helps others to leave behind a life where they don’t get to express their greatest self. Whether that’s doing an amazing job of freelancing through writing and editing or getting an important message out into the world, she loves helping other women to earn their living in a free and flexible way.
If you love words anywhere near as much as she does, you’re in the right place! Hear more from Kris. Sign up for updates at KrisEmery.com