How Writing Teaches Me To Live

Sometimes It’s Not Only My Words Teaching Me

P.G. Barnett
Jan 28, 2020 · 5 min read

We writers are, for the most part, an isolated bunch of creatives, hunkered down with our journals, notepads, and pens or punching out stories on our phones or computers.

Isolated is the operative word here.

I must say, a lot of my time is spent in front of a computer writing stories or just talking to you folks.

A lot.

And what occurred to me this evening, is that sometimes, talking to one another is actually what we do.

No, we don’t pick up our phones and carry on conversations with each other. Well, some of us do, but odds are there are very few clusters of writers who have verbal communications with each other.

I suppose it happens, but let’s just say it hasn’t happened to me just yet.

I’ve been writing pretty steady for almost a full year now, even though I’ve been here for two. And although my darling wife and I really don’t focus on how much I’ve grown personally during our evening chats, if we did, we’d realize just how much I’ve changed.

Now, of course, we all know change is undoubtedly a subjective kind of perception. To my wife and children, they may have even witnessed a little more softening in my demeanor. To some, I may be the same old curmudgeon they’ve learned to put up with over the years.

Maybe that’s because the change I’m talking about isn’t that noticeable to them.

Amidst the passion and pure hunger to write, I’ve grown accustomed to a more subtle change in my overall perspective about my career, my writing career.

I guess in the beginning I came here for all the wrong reasons. Even though I talked a good game about this career of ours actually being a long and winding road, I wanted to hit it big and fast.

Big wins; big money.

Lordy was I a misguided little plebe back then.

With this yearning, of course, came the impatience and the anger and the frustration, and yes, the absolutely terrible writing.

With these self-centered blinders firmly in place, came the terrible bouts of depression and sullenness and flashes of bitterness, my wife and my family witnessed. Even my co-workers at my side-hustle noticed.

And none of them said anything; there were no family interventions, although there should have been. There were no writeups at work. Everyone just tossed it off as me being an irascible old coot who should retire already and do everyone a favor.

There were many times when she told me to snap out of it and either get on with this writing thing or don’t but stop being miserable about it.

My wife wasn’t scared of me, and she still ain’t.

And neither are you, folks.

Many comments from all of you over this past year have taught me a lot.

A lot about the world outside my own little bubble.

And several of these comments have humbled me. Angered me at first, but then forced me to look at another perspective I didn’t want to examine in the beginning. And when I did, I felt so d*mn small.

You’ve shared your own fears and experiences, your own pains and struggles, and you’ve left wonderfully insightful comments on my stories.

I’ve learned not to simply sit back and let injustices happen to me or anyone else without saying something about it. I’ve learned how to be more self-aware of my own actions, or in some circumstances, callous inactions.

I’ve learned that a creative is not someone merely creating, but someone with a soul, a real soul which sometimes aches with pride and joy and a lot of times with pain and sorrow.

We sometimes perceive what others write a little differently than those who wrote it. And we’re not afraid to disagree with them and at least offer another viewpoint or perspective.

I’ve learned to be patient and understanding, to be bold and daring, and to actually care about someone whom I’ve never met other than by exchanging comments and or stories.

I’ve actually learned to be kinder to myself and others.

Yes, I’ve learned a lot this year through writing, but it’s not just my own words teaching me.

It’s yours.

It’s everything you write, and all the little likes and dislikes you send my way via comments. Or those times when you railed against injustice with a flaming piece of your own.

Sometimes I nod in agreement, sometimes I don’t. But what’s cool about reading what you say, is that I’m able to grow one way or another just a little bit more each time.

It’s certainly been a long journey, and I’m hoping it lasts forever for all of us. Although I know it won’t, because well, you know, it just won’t.

But as long as we have this opportunity to grow together, I’ll keep listening to what you say, thinking about why and how you said it and learning.

Writing has become such a part of my life. In many ways, it has taught me a ton about life, living, and how to be a Human.

And you folks, ah, you folks out there who may have not known your words had the power to teach us all how to live a better life, you do what you always do.

You write.

We listen.

We learn.

Peace Out,

P.G.

Thank You So Much For Reading

Let’s keep in touch: paul@pgbarnett.com

© P.G. Barnett, 2020. All Rights Reserved.

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P.G. Barnett

Written by

A published author enjoying married Texas bliss. Dog person living with cats. A writer of Henry James' stories. Featured In MuckRack. Top Writer In Fiction.

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +771K people. Follow to join our community.

P.G. Barnett

Written by

A published author enjoying married Texas bliss. Dog person living with cats. A writer of Henry James' stories. Featured In MuckRack. Top Writer In Fiction.

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +771K people. Follow to join our community.

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