Integrity as a Writer
Why a Writer Needs Feeling
This will be me tenth and last story of the “Write 10 Blog Posts in 10 Days Challenge”. Technically, I succeeded the challenge: I wrote ten stories.
Ultimately I feel I failed: I didn’t publish a “finished” ninth story. And, to honest my intention was to publish ten stories in ten days.
“It has to feel right. It has to flow” — Anna Gatmon —
It just didn’t feel right. It felt it was missing something. So, let’s call it a failure in writing. However, I consider it a success in self-reflective awareness.
This reminds me of what scientist and entrepreneur Astro Teller said:
“You can’t call the work up to the moment where you realize you’re doing the wrong thing ‘failing’, that’s called ‘learning’. Real failure is knowing you’re on the wrong track and still continue anyway”
Let the writing of my ninth story be a moment of learning. Not publishing it and taking one step back seems to be a wise move.
Stopping in my tracks, and feeling bad doing so, gave me an opportunity to see what didn’t feel right. Instead of just posting a crappy post I was reflecting on what didn’t feel right. Stopping myself from continuing on a path that felt not right is what gave me the opportunity to consider how to be a better writer.
I now know what was missing.
There was little balance between description, prescription, and feeling.
It was too much describing of what I did: It was too much “This is what you should do.” Even though it was what worked for me it might not work for you. It goes entirely against my idea of scaling to your own needs and capacity.
What was missing was vulnerability, the connection to my struggles and my inner thoughts and feelings. It didn’t have a story the reader can connect to.
If there is no connection then there is no motivation from the reader to integrate this information. Motivation to apply other life lessons comes from emotions that guides attention to the story and integrating it with your own inner world.
Why is this important, for me, for others?
Integrity > Shame
To have integrity as a writer is to openly express yourself. Not telling that I’ve failed to publish my ninth post on the ninth day wouldn’t be fair. I have to tell the world, and by honest with myself, that I struggle. That’s what being a writer is about. You have to openly express yourself, even, or especially, when you feel ashamed.
Although I was being honest about what I did I was not being genuine in my expression of what I was going through and why I needed to do what I did. I was not in touch of my feelings.
So, here it goes.
At the peak of my double trauma I brought myself into safety by moving. A decision that was hard for me to make at the time. It didn’t seem like an option. Then I gave myself the options: 1. I die, 2. I move. The decision making process got a lot simpler. The choice was made to move.
I was lost after moving, totally lost. I did not know where to start. I decided to drop any work, or other secondary motives, and decided to build capacity. It was not a mere desire to build capacity. It felt like a need, a very urgency.
I couldn’t function properly: I slept close to two hours a night, my sleep-wake cycle was of track. I slept with a 25-hour cycle: sometimes sleeping during the day and sometimes during the night. Changing my environment, bringing myself in a space where I felt safe, helped me to sleep better immensely.
From this need to build capacity I was looking for processes I could control.
The two most important things were controlling my diet and my exercise regime.
I had the luck of having a sports hall in my building. I jump roped. I screamed. I laughed. I climbed in the ropes. I did pullups. I would play basketball. There were basketball nets in the hall.
I went running thrice a week like the doctor recommended after seeing her for my chest pains. I was both figuratively and literately having pain in my heart. The stress had taken its toll. Exercising was a way for me to overscream my pain. Running has helped me a lot to build capacity.
I have intensively and extensively researched all the elements in my diet. I logged every food consumed. I was researching all the health benefits and downsides. I was always looking for a better alternatives. I looked for foods that were healthy and safe.
Eating scientifically and self-quantified evidence-based gave me a sense that I was doing alright. That over time I will heal. And bit by bit I got better. I felt better. I slept better.
This is what scaling is about. You look for what works best for others, you try it out for yourself. If it works, it works. But be honest to discern between values, desires, and needs. For instance, I have been enjoying peanuts all my life, and as honest as I’m being today…I’ve never felt good after eating peanuts.
So, I’ve started eliminating foods from my diets. I looked for other healthy alternatives, but this time the foods scaled to my bodily and brainly needs. Almonds are considered healthy, but didn’t work for me. Red wine is considered healthy, but didn’t work for me. Now I’m enjoying pumpkin seed kernels and alcohol-free beer.
It has to feel right!