If someone were to ask me how often I write – I would have said every day. I write emails all day long, it is my main mode of conversation in business.
But is this really writing? These polite, concise and purpose-driven communications that are now the default. I don’t write anything that doesn’t have a specific, commercial or organisational purpose – emails, website copy, lists for shopping or future plans.
To be fair, I was never a writer but I have been considering all of the old skills that are atrophying for me these days – specifically – reading and writing but also walking in nature but that is a whole other discussion.
I spent my entire early education performing these tasks but the past 20 years of my life have rarely necessitated these skills so they are rusty AF. Staring at this screen fills me with dread. Not only dread of what to write but a fear of what people will think of my writing and by extension of my thoughts. Not only has the world we now know conspired to degrade purposeless writing it has also made it dangerous. Say the wrong thing and you are attacked and ‘cancelled’.
I think I have internalised this fear to the point that it has become a chronic stressor for me. I over-edit everything I say publically to remove any hint of controversy and by extension have become someone duller in all of life. The thoughts in my head fight a fierce battle all day long but they never see light of day – not even with people I trust in some cases.
I am currently reading Antifragile and starting to see that perhaps my avoidance of acute stress is what is causing chronic stress. I am choosing to write regularly to invite some acute stress into my life – the electric pulse of that ‘publish’ button followed by hours of WFT have I done torture so eventually, I can shake off some of this fear.
Who knows, maybe I’ll find a brighter version of myself in the process…