On Writing Well, On Thinking Well, On Being Well Regarded
Day 16 of 31.
We speak about a life with purpose, a higher purpose, but never no purpose. Because without a purpose, without a path, we often find ourselves meandering through the hills and valleys of discovery and disappointment.
What is it like to not have a purpose in our life? To have no internal compass to show us the way? Pigeons have internal compasses, as do dogs, as do cows and turtles and fish and bees but us? We get lost without our maps. Once we learn to rely on others, we lose sight on relying on ourselves. We lose the muscles of direction when we no longer flex and feed them, forgotten and doubted when there is a more majestic, titanium updated version to iOS 12.1 or whatever they are calling it now.
Isn’t that insane?! That we no longer rely on our sense of directions in our own towns because we rely on Google Maps?
Isn’t it insane that we no longer rely on our own opinions but instead, a plethora of the friends, family and people around us for their biased viewpoints on our life decisions?
Why don’t we feel comfortable in our decisions anymore? Is it because there is too MUCH out there for us to really make an educated decision? Does the «too much» haunt us daily with the concept of «what if»?
On Writing Well
How well do you know yourself?
If you were in a new country without anyone who knew you, what type of person would you want to be?
Now, what type of person do you want to be remembered as?
Do the two match? Could you find an answer for either? Does it matter? There’s no right answer but I hope you took some time to think about it. Thoughtfulness leads to purpose.
To practice thoughtfulness about oneself, one should start with the act of writing. Purpose, is a lofty goal at best, esteemed word association at it’s worst.
Writing is figuring out what your purpose is. Purposeful writing comes from writing a LOT. The two are not the same, but they are easily confused with another.
Writing is essentially word vomit- it’s trying to make sense of whatever thoughts are bouncing around in your brain. It’s a glass booth in one of those 1970's game shows where a wind turbine shoots money into a tornado and you stand there trying to catch as many as you can. You may get a lot, you may get a bit.
With purposeful writing, we are intentional with our words. We write and erase, erase and write. Every single letter, character and description has been selected and vetted, it has been decided by you- that there was a place for it on this page. Every single word has a meaning that supports and propels one another. We trust in this. We decided on this. It is taking those messy thoughts, those wrinkled and sweaty dollars and smoothing them out, one crinkle at a time until we have a beautiful looking stack.
We may not be able to control our thoughts, but we are able to temper our writing enough to understand our thoughts. To understand ourselves enough. To figure our purpose.
Sometimes, you may realize you don’t have the words to say so. In that case, read and listen to voices outside of your spectrum. Sometimes, you find someone else has already felt the same way. When that happens, you know what you’re here to do, and everyone can sense that.
“ If travel is broadening, it should broaden more than just our knowledge of how a Gothic cathedral looks or how the French make wine. It should generate a whole constellation of ideas about how men and women work and play, raise their children, worship their gods, live and die.”
-William Zinnser, On Writing Well p. 128
Page 116 — Chapter: On Writing About Places,