How my writing helps me —and others — make sense of the world
Here’s why I write, why I hope you read me and then go write as well.
I started writing at age three. Like many, I grew up in a “messy” family and didn’t have anyone I could talk to, not about “those” things.Once I found a crayon and paper, however, something happened. The thoughts I couldn’t voice came out, first in pictures and then in words. Each day when I re-read what I’d written the day before, the words on paper took life and allowed me to breathe more freely, because it was out there — truth, as I knew it.
I wrote poetry. I learned I could put a world of experience into five to 30 lines. I discovered the more real I let myself be on paper, the more others liked it. I dropped out of high school, wrote a play and submitted it instead of a college application. A small college gave me a full-tuition scholarship as a result. When I asked them why, they said my play was so raw and real, they wanted to meet me.
I dreamed I’d write full-time after college, but starving artist didn’t work for me. So I got jobs — as a teacher, as a counselor and because I like working for myself, running a training and consulting firm. I missed writing, so I kept a journal. I started writing about the challenges I faced at work — snarky Stan, ranting Patricia and pushy Paula. One day, I sent the local newspaper three columns offering how-to advice.
They published my columns, then called me: “We have fan mail for you.”
I opened three inches of mail from readers asking, “How do I handle the creep who puts his hands all over me at the staff party?” and “My boss is MIA. Help!” That started a “Dear Abby of the workplace” column, now in its third decade.
I write for two reasons.
First, to make sense of things. Even when I didn’t fully understand what I was feeling, if I wrote and put it outside myself on paper, and then reread it next day, I saw it with fresh eyes. Writing about what I did or didn’t or should have done taught me more than I would have learned by silently voicing thoughts inside my own head.
Second, I write to inspire positive change in myself and in the world. That’s what happens when I put pen to paper or start up the computer and send a tweet or an article. You read what I have written, and gain — perhaps an insight, an emotional connection or the feeling that someone else understands. Your life changes, and because you matter, you then change the lives of those around you.
Would you like to write? Here’s how to start: Think about one of the challenges you face, whether a person or a situation, and write about it. Chances are, what you write will touch a nerve for others. Find an outlet — your local newspaper, your own blog, or possibly SheKnows.com. Once you’ve written your very best, be bold — publish it.
Fast forward to 2015. I found SheKnows.com, and joined this awesome team as a contributor. I started www.bullywhisperer.com ™ and Amazon selected my book, Beating the Workplace Bully, for a December 2015 Kindle and January 2016 paperback and audio release. Most importantly, every week I get emails from you and others who’ve read one of my posts and weekly newspaper columns on how to handle career and workplace challenges and say, “I tried what you suggested, and it worked,” or “You made me step back and realize I’d given my power away. I’m taking it back.”
That’s why I write and why I hope you write as well. You have a voice, unique, special and transformative. I’d like to read what you write. Together we can change the world.
You can follow Lynne @lynnecurry10 on Twitter or access her other posts on SheKnows, www.workplacecoachblog.com or www.bullywhisperer.com. Her Beating the Workplace Bully released on Amazon/kindle on 12/6/15.