The Power of Your Perspective
What’s really stopping me from flexing the power of my perspective as a writer? Today I’m going to share with you my experience and the surprising lessons learned from my first writing course at The Muse Writing Center.
When I first wanted to become a writer, I was a kid that read a lot of books. I was drawn to the superpower of effectively communicating an idea, story, or perspective into a book, magazine or newspaper article that people all over the world could read. I’ve always wanted “Written by Jeanita Morris” to be attached to a brilliant piece of work. As a teen, I wrote lots of poems and submitted them to the Washington Post, YSB, and Essence magazines. Lots of submissions for a 14-17 year old I thought only for none of them to be published. When I went to college as an English major, it was to improve my writing and ability to get a job at a major publication as a writer. It was there in college, I learned writing is hard. For the first time in my life, I had to really work at everything, even my writing. I enjoyed writing less, as a result, I started to write less. Until my junior year, when I took a creative writing course and my work appeared in a self published journal that I still have to this day. As many of you know, I went on to fail my thesis senior year in what I still identify as my largest failure in life. I believe I’ve allowed these series of events to convince me that I shouldn’t be a writer, I’m no good at it, and no one really wants to hear from me. Here I am pretty successful at a lot in life as a 41 year old with the unfulfilled dreams of a little girl still in my heart.
A myth about fulfilling the desires of your heart is the work to do so should come easy or naturally. You see, writing is one of my God given talents, and writing is hard work. Just like everything else in life, I have to put in the work to be a better writer. I actually have to write and a lot, maybe more than other people to get better. One thing is for sure, the dream of being a published writer will never get fulfilled unless I get to work. Of all the advice and thoughts I’ve shared on this podcast, I have not applied them to my writing. I talk a lot about doing the work and putting yourself into the right rooms and connecting with people. I’ve done that when it comes to my career. Yet when it comes to my writing, I don’t know a single published author, go to writing events, or do more with my writing. Until now…
Here in the City of Norfolk, we have this amazing resource for writers: The Muse Writer’s Center. Among many things, the center offers classes for writers of all abilities, contributing to all genres. The Muse is less than 10 mins away from my house and I just got the courage to go in and sign up for a class after 10 months of living here in Norfolk. There are so many offerings for classes on writing every thing from poems to books to blogs, along with publishing resources. After reviewing the Spring class offerings, I found a class I knew should be the first I take: Developing Personal Power as Writers facilitated by Anna Fitzgerald. This class addresses the following topics as it relates to writing:
-limiting beliefs about our writing
-the power of words
-elimination of overwhelm and procrastinnation
-unique ways to organize and prioritize our writing
This last piece about unique ways to organize and prioritize our writing was the top thing I thought I needed to get out of the class. I figured my problem was one of productivity. After the first 10 mins of the class, my actual issue was exposed. The first topic, limiting beliefs about our writing, was of most value to me. The activities and discussion really forced me to soul search about why I’ve not been as productive about my writing. Sure, I’ve been busy, as the last year has been wild. Still, I manage to prioritize a lot of other things in my life besides my writing. After peeling back a lot of layers…I learned a. I don’t prioritize or schedule time to write, because b. I don’t want my hard work and creativity rejected, making me feel like c. no one wants to read anything I write because my work is not smart or impactful or enough. There are are thousands of writers, podcasters, content creators, etc. Why would anyone want to hear from me?
I had to affirm for myself that my perspective, experience, research etc, is of value. I produce work that is of value to me, excellent to me, helpful to me. Doing so leaves work that is going to provide the same for others. Of the billions of people on the plant, there is an audience out there just waiting to read something written by Jeanita Morris. They will never get to read it, if I don’t write it. Our class did a lot of work on personalized affirmations about ourselves, our process, and our work. I’ve shared about the power of affirmations before. This was my first experience with creating personalized affirmations. We were encouraged to write our own to combat the limiting beliefs we have about our work. I found the activity of creating customized affirmations much more effective in crushing the crazy negative thoughts that creep up and limit my productivity.
I never really thought of myself as a creative, as I don’t think I viewed writing as art like say a painting or creating music. In this class, I finally understood why I feel a sense of accomplishment after writing. Writing is the creative release I need. For days, weeks, or months to go by without writing is stressful. The best way to describe it is that I always feel like no matter how much I accomplish in a day, there is always something left to do. Our teacher advised making time for our art everyday as it is a necessity for our overall well being. Just like you make time to sleep (debatable) or time to shower, etc. You need to make time for your art. You need it. It’s so true. The days that I make time to write and release some of my creative energy are some of the days I feel the best. I’m better at my job, connect better with my family and friends, and overall have a better sense of accomplishment. I sleep better. I feel proud of myself. Writing makes me happy.
You know what else makes me happy? Fellowship and connection with other people. In this class, I met nine writers with similar insecurities as me. Talented writers with similar self imposed limits. During our 3 hour exchange, I understood even more the power of words and connection and why my writing is important by doing simple exercises. We did activities in which we were all essentially given the same topic with the only instruction to write whatever we wanted. Though all nine of us wrote about the same topic, every single expression was completely different as we all got something unique and thought provoking from each person. We watched a TedTalk about the power of words. Even two people saying similar things can impact us differently. There are so many variables that make up our uniqueness. I have a different perspective about the power of the world having only one me. How do I wield that power in my writing? What stories can I share, perspective can I lend? How I can use my powerful uniqueness to connect with other people?
Sure I’m talking about writing but think about how this applies in other areas of our lives. Do you use the power of your perspective to push progress at work? How about in your community or with family and friends as it relates to issue of social injustice? Did you know the power of your perspective can uplift people all around you? You must provide it in order for both you and your perspective to continue to grow.
I’ll leave you with a quote I’ve been carry around all week:
“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any” -Alice Walker