Recently, I’ve written a lot. With so many words flying around the pages I began to wonder what was driving me to churn out so much content. So, I started to reflect on my writing journey so far.
I began blogging about four years ago. I remember my first post well. I was at work in my role as a junior shared services and outsourcing consultant in a large open plan office in Victoria, Central London. At that point, I’d only worked in the people and organisational change industry for about a year. Prior to this, I’d spent four years working in banking and a further three years retraining from my role as a personal assistant.
Being in a new and junior role in an area I knew little about, I felt frustrated by how little I had control over but how much knowledge I had that I thought could help.
I ended up in that position after having a temporary in-house role in the HR team at the same company. I wanted to move to a permanent position as an external consultant in the same area but there weren’t any roles available. So, I took what I could in the hope I’d be able to move at a later date.
The difference between the role I took and the role I wanted was the focus was on processes and systems and not people. It didn’t work for me, and I spent most of my time fighting the corner of the people who were having new and improved systems put on them without thought for how they’d adapt to such change. Sadly, in a world of process lovers, the people perspective, especially from ‘a junior’ didn’t get a look in.
I was also ‘off the clock’, as consultants call it, which means waiting for the next job to arrive so that you can be assigned to a specific project of work. When you’re off the clock, it either means there’s no work, or you’re not wanted.
So I was stuck hot desking in open plan office. Being a natural introvert I’m not a fan of open plan; I find it noisy and distracting, plus you have no place to call home. To work, I like quiet and space. I need quiet and space.
I was constantly frustrated, and I felt unheard. So, headphones in and trying to shut out the world, I began to write.
That first piece was satisfying but I was new to blogging and certainly not brave enough to share my work more widely.
It was almost a year until I wrote my next piece. Actually, that’s untrue, I wrote but I didn’t publish. I have all sorts of started and half-finished articles and sometimes just pages of words or ideas stored away in my free-writing file.
What I realise now, is writing helped to keep me sane and whenever times are tough, writing is where I turn.
Since that time, I’ve started my own business, got married and moved to a new country. It’s been exciting, but not without its challenges. Over this period I’ve written more than ever, and still it keeps coming.
Perhaps it’s being able to put words on paper that you know people can dispute but they can never change. When I speak, I often struggle to articuate what I want to say. I get lost in my thoughts and the wrong thing formulates. Before I know it, it’s floating around in other people’s ear drums and I’m wishing I could take it back and change the words.
Or, it could be that writing makes me feel braver. I think many of us are braver since the advent of social media and I’m no exception.
But, I also think society has changed. These days, certainly in the Western world, we’re allowed, even encouraged, to say more. It seems people want to know and understand what others are thinking and doing. We want new information constantly and that helps drive me to create it.
I remember recently reading a quote about how, many years ago, we’d get mad when people read our diaries; now we post them on the internet and get mad when people don’t. How times change.
Reflecting on my writing journey has given me an understanding of why I, and others, need a creative outlet. When I lay bare through words I feel lighter, happier and connected to the world. I feel like a freer me.