There have been two constants that have sustained me throughout my life and are now entwined into my soul-led work and living brand. Writing and gardening. And yet it has taken a long time for me to recognise these two significant threads weaving their way in and out of my life and work since childhood.
Writing is my go to
Even if writing wasn’t within my existing job role or a need to for my petite business I know I will always continue to put pen to paper. Just because it's what I love to do.
First and foremost I write for me. To articulate my thoughts and ideas. To process what I feel and see going on in the world around me and of course to share my stories.
Writing is like my therapy and it has seen me through some pretty dark days and back towards the light. You could say it’s a lifelong trusted friend that doesn’t speak out loud, but gently guides me forward to discover the answers I seek all from the words written on the page.
And now I can clearly see that my writing practice sustains all of me, in my day-to-day life and within my petite business. It isn't one or the other it is a blend of both.
Over the last few years I have worked on "Conscious Writing" a practice that typically starts with a meditation to slow everything down. For my writing practice this works brilliantly as I need peace and quiet to write. I cannot be in a busy cafe or have people around me. I cannot hear myself think if there is noise. Hence my office being referred to as my "Creative Cave". When I am in there I am not to be disturbed!
Following the meditation you're ready to tune in and listen to the voice within and clearly hear precisely what it is telling you and get it down on the page. You write what is there. Sometimes it can be a challenge to get it all down as it flows quickly. But usually writing this way means a few tweaks and then I am good to go. Rather than sitting at my desk and over thinking what to say.
I've also been fortunate to attend a workshop with Julia Cameron, author extraordinaire of the Artist Way and have diligently followed her guidance and advice ever since.
With writing there can be a perception or belief that you’re not really a writer until you have a proper book deal from a publisher. Or until you see your printed book on the shelves in a book store. Or even until you’re a number one best seller on Amazon.
None of these things mean you are officially a writer
Let's put all of these beliefs to one side because if you decide to pick up your pen, write down your words in your notebook or type something on your screen you are a writer.
You don’t even have to share what you write with another person in order to claim the title. You just have to decide for yourself. I am a writer. I will write.
I met someone recently who is about to graduate she has been studying for her English Literature degree and now is embarking on her new path as a bid writer. I said I also used to write bids and tender documents and I hated doing it at the time.
It didn’t feel at all creative. It felt stressful and mundane.
But putting together the bids was more significant than I ever could have realised at the time.
Not another boring question to answer....
Our bid team and I would traipse off to the board room (or should that be bored room!) for days on end locked away in front of a screen with me at the keyboard compiling our bid documents for big pitches. Bouncing around ideas, getting the words down and answering endless boring and repetitive questions.
I wasn’t taken on to do bids, it wasn't officially my job and I distinctly recall my resistance to it. So much so another colleague and I had a to-do in the office about yet another bid that landed on my desk and was urgent.
I’d had enough of endless bid documents and asked if someone else would do it?
He replied with “You’re the only one here in this office who can write. So let me know when it’s finished”?
Gah! Didn't he know I wasn't a writer and it wasn't part of my remit?!
Eventually I moved through the resistance
Writing became my friend, not foe.
Now I realise however much resistance I put up in doing the bid responses this enforced task was a thread, another significant step in my life that enabled me to practice writing something. I may not have enjoyed it at the time however it led me further along my writing path.
When I left the bids and tenders behind I launched my first petite business with a blog. This meant I had to write something frequently and I would sit for hours writing and publish my posts. This was far more enjoyable and interesting and I could say whatever I wanted. Brilliant. More steps further down my writing path.
But I still didn’t consider for one moment that I was a writer. I just created blogs. With my own words. Maybe a blogger? Not yet officially a writer.
Even reflecting back on my childhood and school years I couldn’t recall excelling at anything in particular. I felt pretty average really. I know being sporty is still not my thing. I would get frustrated during my maths classes because why on earth do you need algebra in the real world?
But I loved to read. All the time. Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton were my childhood favourites. I also loved new notebooks and stationery. I still do. With sparkly pens and coloured pencils. And I even loved to scribble and write in them. Oh and funnily enough I still do this too.
So a while ago when I was searching for my purpose and seeking answers about who I really am. I wondered what sustains me? What do I really love to do? What is the best form of self expression for me?
It was challenging to say the least. Because it's hard to know yourself, sometimes you need outside helpers so I decided to ask my parents "Was there anything I enjoyed when at school, what did I love to do in my spare time?”
And they both said the same thing "You were always reading, writing and making up your own stories". I asked my sister. She said the same again. And added if someone was nasty they'd get written about in your stories. I might still do that......!
So this is how I discovered my writing thread.
I dug out my old school reports to triple check this was true. And there it was in black and white written on my school reports by my teachers "Melanie loves to write and tell her stories."
So I may have been rubbish at maths, not sporty at all, a bif iffy with science, but English Language and Literature well not so bad here. But I had forgotten all about my childhood pursuits because you do don't you? They remain buried and yet here was the significant thread. There all along, just waiting for me to rediscover it and acknowledge that yes I love to write.
Maybe now I will call myself a writer?
It has taken a long time for me to accept myself as a writer and to boldly claim this title. But now I will confidently state this within my bio's and elevator pitch. As I am more than one job title. And it is intentional that I bring all of me to my life, soul-led business and living brand, I want my tribe to feel like they know the real me and I will do so by writing and sharing here.
The signs and threads are there for us to see
It can be hard to recognise your own threads. Until they make themselves known loud and clear. They begin to gnaw away at you. You become restless. Agitated. Anxious. You know you’re meant to be doing something to sustain you, but what is it?
For me if I don't write I do feel a bit off. Antsy. Snappy. Like something is bugging me.
Ahh yes it's time for me to write. Because now I recognise the signs and hear the voice in my head that has something for me to say.
I cherish and nurture my writing thread and know I will continue to write until the end of my days. It sustains me in my entirety and is no longer about work or play it has become a combination of both.
maybe it isn’t our one life purpose we seek but all of our threads?
Our threads are unique and make us who we are. They create their own life long tapestry that enables us to eventually find clarity, purpose and meaning in our lives. Thread by thread.
And you can bring all of your threads together within your life and work too:
- Maybe yoga sustains you and you decide you want to teach others?
- Maybe you love looking after your skin and you decide you want to share this wisdom with others so you become a skin specialist for your work?
- Maybe you have learnt some important life lessons and you decide to create your petite business around sharing your own insights and knowledge to support others through this thing called life?
- Maybe you love to paint and instead of words your preference for your own self expression for life and your work is to share your own artistic creations?
The point is our threads are not all about just sustaining us OR our business.
They can when acknowledged and expressed, become what we are known for within our living brand AND sustain our entire being. Everything transforms for the better.
For me I know I intend to continue to show up with my words. Because there is a quiet voice within that has transformed my world so I will continue to write.
And as for the garden and beautiful flowers these remain another important thread and a story for another time.