I had to take a break.
Writing, my love, passion and one way I have earned my keep, became too much.
It’s given me an outlet to share parts of my life both publicly and privately.
It also left me barren with what to write or say.
Even if it seems like a writer is on a roll and everything “looks” good, there are moments of dryness where words don’t come as easily.
This “dry spell” hit me pretty hard in December 2018 and ran for a few months…until now.
I took a break from writing articles for large-scale publications. I simply put the long-form writing side of life down and, yes, it cost me a spot in one major publication because if you don’t offer up content consistently then you lose your spot in line.
It became more of a chore and not something that I found enjoyable. The benefits of doing so were more treacherous and painful to me than I could express.
Now, though, I’m ready to get back into the flow of it all and speak through words and experiences.
Let’s talk about taking a break. Have you ever found yourself working and grinding so much that you want to throw your hands up in the air and yell “WTH!?” when results aren’t happening fast enough? Hmm, it seems like I am not the only one in the world with that problem.
Stepping back and allowing life to happen as a flow and not pushing so hard against it all has benefits. There have been moments where I’ve looked at what I have been doing to keep my basic life issues covered…you know, home, food, car payment, debt collectors, and so on. It’s been 15-plus months straight of 4-, 5-, and 6-day work weeks in a job that I’m grateful for but – honestly – it is simply paying the bills.
There comes a time where what has been working still works while other things have got to go. Can I drop that job right now as of this writing? Not yet. Can I have a goal to get to where I’m bringing in more than enough money to drop it this year? Yes.
A lot of emotions and feelings needed to be sorted out over the past few months. It was a time where coming to grips with a couple of hard truths needed to be faced.
Calling myself a writer and author is definitely aligned with my professional life. I’ve got the social proof, as it’s called, to back that up. There is still work to do to truly be called a consultant and copywriter. Content writer? Yep, got the social proof on that as well.
Writing for people to read all around the world and providing solid information and guidance just started feeling fake to me. I wasn’t being fake with people; that feeling was there, though. Some people might call it “imposter syndrome.” I’m not sure that fits into this category.
Being an imposter means wearing masks to hide one’s own true self to others. Whether it’s been writing about business strategies or having flat tires in the middle of nowhere in Arizona, I’ve always strived to make sure my words and emotions were aligned.
Feelings of inferiority, guilt, shame, fear, and lack overwhelmed me. I could not see the forest from the trees as the ancient analogy goes. Writing just has been my outlet to share with people. It also is a way to get in front of larger audiences and have stakeholders and business owners reach out to work with me.
For most of my life, I’ve been in the world of journalism. My current night job is in that world but I’m not a journalist anymore. All I do is plug-and-play in this role, while obviously making sure no foul language seeps into headlines or other parts.
The elements of journalistic writing can be transferred to many different corporate writing realms. Journalistic-style stories are filled with facts, figures, places, and fact-checked information. Copywriting is its own animal and I’m learning a lot about the structure and function of that very well-paying profession.
Corporations have been introducing the concept of brand journalism to their own marketing budgets over the past few years. In doing so, they hire former journalists to “report” about their products and services.
This is definitely a service that I can offer clients around the world.
Again, though, I needed a break before moving forward.
If I am going to write 1,000 or 1,500 words in an article, then don’t you think I ought to have something worthwhile for you to read? Yep. We are all spending too much time on our smartphones with a bazillion apps for this, that, and the other. It’s like there is an incessant need to know about everything at every second.
“What’d I miss on Twitter? Who is putting up their latest picture on Instagram? What about that LinkedIn profile that I liked so much? Is my Facebook account still working?” The FOMO (fear of missing out) is thick and heavy.
All of these questions around social media and, even today, lots of people believe they are writers because they put long posts up on their social platforms. That might be true but the reality is this: Making a connection with you means bringing a level of authenticity, truth, and empathy to these words. If those elements are not a part of writing, then who is getting fooled? As a reader, you might feel like you have wasted time.
I’ve been writing for 30-plus years and don’t mind saying so because it is truth. Five books. Articles on platforms you know like Thrive Global, The Huffington Post, Addicted2Success, The Good Men Project and others. Lots of social media posts about writing and other things.
Stepping back from writing has been a good thing. Perspective is wonderful. It’s time, though, for me to step back in the ring and do what I know that I can do for people and businesses.
There is power and energy within written words. You see proof of this all the time. Words can either uplift or tear down people. My words and writing have my very name on them.
What do I want to do with my words?
Help or harm?
Make a difference or slash people up? Support entrepreneurs and businesses in learning to speak and write their words wisely?
Sell more copies of my book “CleftThoughts: Emotional Musings From The Facial Difference World” to reach my goal of #1millioncleftthoughts sold around the world?
All of this and another trip to the World Series for the Houston Astros, please.
The dry spell is over.
It’s time to get back in the ring and go.