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Growing Up Together – Part 2 – It’s not just about the Writing

In my first blog I introduced myself and a few of my inner writing companions; Tendency to push away, Giving up and Calm who all pop up at different times when I’m writing. Think of each of my inner writing companions like the characters in Disney Pixar’s famous cartoon film, Inside Out.

In the context of me on my writing journey, I am Joy, the sunshiney, get-up-and-go blue haired delight. I (the me that loves to write) am all-happy-go-lucky, and ready to write until POP! My inner companions show up stomping loud and proud in my brain, in an attempt to stop me from doing anything that stretches me past my current comfort zone. Do you recognise this? It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so crazy and frustrating hey!

Writing is one of my greatest life passions and it’s why I’m here as part of the writing team at The We Spot. I want to improve, share, and learn within a community of other writer’s; and importantly, my goal is to learn how to communicate my vision for a better world. I’m not there yet–I have technical skills, and emotional capacities to improve, if I am going to communicate and collaborate on large scale visions for change effectively, and with ease in the long term. There’s lots to learn for sure.

Whilst writing is not something I claim I’m brilliantly at yet, I adore the freedom that comes in the exploration of writing, scribbling, journaling, problem solving, and ideas mapping. Generally, I love the pure joy of putting pen to paper and seeing what comes out.

Lady writing in a journal

It is one of the best feelings in the world, don’t you think? The sensation of letting every word, inkling, thought, fear and dream from inside of you dance about on the paper, wildly letting your ideas free without constraint. Scratchy anger fuelled scribbles all over the page that make no sense, but carry you somehow over a threshold into another paradigm of consciousness. It’s wild abandonment for me when I write, and there is nowhere else I’d rather be, then sat in front of a piece of paper with a pencil quietly, and unashamedly unravelling what’s in my mind.

So my question is, if it feels so good, and it is undoubtedly so good for you (well researched and reported evidence says that writing is good for emotional and mental health), why oh why then do the inner fears, doubts and frustrations have so much power to swerve and distract us away from the process?

Well, this is where I think my Growing Up Together theme begins to come in to play. It all centers around the fact that we are all here together, and have been given an opportunity to grow up together, in our writing, in our self awareness, in our our maturity and in our community building skills.

When I’m writing wild and free and for myself I am deliriously happy. Like really, really, properly carefree-happy. I have no other happy place comparison that comes anywhere near the sensation and feeling of when I write. I think you get the point. So, when and where do the inner gremlins creep, POP and stomp in?

Well, it’s when I write to you. No question. Writing for myself is fine, yet as soon as I sense an audience or one person is going to see and read my words I, in-an-instant freeze. It is fascinating. I transform immediately into judging my words, my sentences, my paragraphs, definitions, context and grammar. I zig zag back and forth over lines of text until they’re scrambled and make no sense. In the flash of a second, all of the enjoyment drains out of the writing process, and agonizing efforting enters.

I did some research to attempt to discover what might be happening with my writing. I found lots to explain and alleviate the POPS and stomps of my inner writing companions. Here’s one simple explanation from The Writing Center at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill:

“Writing anxiety” and “writer’s block” are informal terms for a wide variety of apprehensive and pessimistic feelings about writing. These feelings may not be pervasive in a person’s writing life. For example, you might feel perfectly fine writing a biology lab report, but apprehensive about writing a paper on a novel. You may confidently tackle a paper about the sociology of gender, but delete and start over twenty times when composing an email to a cute classmate to suggest a coffee date. In other words, writing anxiety and writers’ block are situational. These terms do NOT describe psychological attributes. People aren’t born anxious writers; rather, they become anxious or blocked through negative or difficult experiences with writing.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This passage made sense to me and allowed me to reflect on some of negative associations I have from writing when I was young which are no doubt contributing to my self-criticism today. I am going to continue my exploration of this thread in the coming months and I’ll share what I’m learning here.

A more stunningly truthful clue I found was this quote from Stephen Pressfield.

Quote by Steven Pressfield

This quote rings true for me because of the depth that I hold inside of me on what I want to write and yet the welling fear that co-exists with saying all that I want to say out in the world and the impact that will have on others.

“Well c’mon” I hear you say… “You’ve got all the way to here, and I still don’t know what this has got to do with Growing Up Together?”

Well here’s what I have so far…. {We} are here at The We Spot to authentically connect, learn and grow together. I am here to learn how to write, and be part of a community of writer’s. We are all going to be navigating different struggles at different times, and we are each going to find our way, clue by clue, through this journey. We’ll do it on our own, and yet we’ll have each other for support; that’s why we are a community.

Right now, as I can see it, I am showing up not as a skilled writer, but as someone who has a burning desire to write, and a willingness to learn the other skills that will make me a competent writer and communicator.

My inner writing companions left untamed would take over the show, and I wouldn’t sit down still to write to you at all; and, therefore, I wouldn’t learn how to communicate for the greater good. Yet, because of this space and this community, I am not allowing that to happen because I have community and a platform, writing deadlines and friendly real human support when I need.

And of course it’s not only about the writing. It’s about the process, the journey and the self expression. It’s about being ourselves, as we are in the moment, and not letting anything get in the way of that.

Look forward to writing with you next time.

Be brave,
Kelly Quinn

Kelly Quinn

Kelly is moved by genuine human care and connection and so dedicates most of her waking hours alongside people and projects that seek to somehow answer one fundamental question "how can we all better get along?". Known as Kel by her closest friends, she lives in Wales in the UK with her very loving and lively son Harris and fiance Adam. Kelly works with leading visionary women who are bringing deep systemic change to the social, educational and care sectors. She supports them in developing and honouring their innate, intuitive feminine leadership styles and specialises in teaching women how to successfully collaborate and build community in order to amplify their critically important campaigns. Kelly is looking forward to growing her courage and confidence to write more in her own voice on topics she deeply cares about. She's also looking forward to making new US friends as part of The We Spot community.

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