Typically, if I get anxious, I can’t write. Nothing ever sounds good enough and I don’t even bother trying.
Fortunately, my profession, my daily work, involves writing. But, it involves writing for a place, a company and local news geared towards a small community.
And that’s kind of what I’m learning about this anxiety and writing stuff.
Truth is, I love writing, and I shouldn’t worry about the critiques or the opinions of other people. It is my calling, my gift. But, writing what interests you and also what may interest your readers helps too.
It also helps that I know that I should be “anxious for nothing” and that God has not given me the Spirit of Fear!
To add, the past few weeks have allowed me time to really reflect, to remember that I have the opportunity to tell the stories of those who have gone before us. I’m talking about the stories that tell a part of history that many people are uncomfortable about reflecting on … really telling the truth about life and what’s really more important!
Hopefully I’ll have more than enough opportunity and time to do that here too!
A few days ago, during an early cold morning, I noticed the sky with the color and hue that’s always been my favorite moment. I never really bothered to take too many photos of moments like this and began to wonder why.
So, I actually pulled out my iPhone and took a few pictures.
The first photo I took was one of the light pole at the curb I was parked on as the sun peaked some of its rays over the horizon of my block. The sky was a kind of blue color that I absolutely loved. The light on the pole was the perfect touch to an ongoing sunrise.
Those are the moments I love. It actually hit me in my core to see this. I literally stopped in my tracks and just took the time to internalize the moment.
It was like God gave me yet another gift for the morning … I was awakened with health and strength … and this scene right here was an extra gift to the morning. It was not a rush morning. It was a morning that started off peacefully. And this photographic moment was a perfect addition to the day.
After taking it in, I took the photo, feeling as though I didn’t have the moment for too long and needed to record it.
Normally, I’m not that impressed with smartphone photos and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why. And yet, it seemed like every new phone being advertised from the Google Pixel to the latest Samsung presented itself the opportunity for me to get a phone with a much better camera, which in my head meant I would automatically have the best shot.
But, the morning I took the photo of the sunrise with the light pole in the foreground, I realized that I was looking to a machine to actually give me the best shot, rather than actually working to make the shot look amazing!
This led me to question the way I approach any of my creative work, be it my writing or drawing or anything.
What do I value? What do you value? And why? This photographic moment has even moved me to assess my Faith and spiritual matters.
I didn’t have to work that hard with the sunrise. But, I did need to allow some creativity, some effort and some time and patience to have the very best shot. The phone was built for what it needed to do as far as the camera function was concerned. But I can’t count on it to be creative for me alone.
I’ve taken hundreds upon thousands of iPhone photos of people, moments and opportunities. But I couldn’t remember the last time a photographic moment like the one with the sunrise was so very good.
Now, I see the use of my iPhone differently. And I’m learning to see other things a little clearer too. The insatiable need to “update” or “upgrade” is slowly diminishing as value and purpose is being adjusted.
Yesterday, I took time away from most things that busy my day (the blog, the social media, etc and etc), and really began to think about what I’m really, really passionate about as it relates to my career and calling in life … my work. Majority of that time was spent, quietly, in prayer, writing, reading and just taking time away from breaking news, social media and consistent busyness.
Over and over again, I could feel the pull of writing, cartooning and storytelling.
Journalism is merely a small piece of that reality. And yet, it is one that is so important to consider.
When I’m not busy with a barrage of news stories, interviewing, writing and editing, I’m often working on my sci-fi fictional writing, short stories, blogs, and my comic strips. As of late, I have not taken the time to actually work on those stories and have only recently began to get back to blogging. That’s my fault.
I was glad to be reminded … to just take time away and just get away from all of the noise of the world … and really hear what is tugging at my heart.
Each time, I’m reminded of my childhood. I’m reminded of my ongoing imagination playing storyline after storyline of ideas, characters, concepts and more. Sometimes, if I’m not careful, I slip into that same thought pattern, coming up with stories and thinking about the plots of my current work more and more.
I do it so much, it feels like those characters in my middle-grade novels and comics I’m writing and creating are my kids. One, because a bit of myself is in each of them and then two, my wife said that they are my kids. And she’s right.
She then told me this:
“Finish your stories … if not for yourself … for me!” – Rachel Lyons
I took a look back in time on my WordPress blog posts to figure out when I wrote my very, very first article.
It was October 6, 2011, and my very first blog post, “Mom came up with the idea first..,” was my very first entry. It was for a news site I ran called Cartoon Daily News.
That post was definitely not my best post. But, it was a start and it was a good, humble beginning.
Blogging and writing online gave me the opportunity to express myself in ways that I never thought possible.
I also had a chance to give my thoughts and ideas and to integrate some of my doodles and drawings. Because of blogging, I really began to start investigating and discovering various interests that I have had for a long, long time.
Then, there’s blogging for the purpose of figuring out how to get out of the job I absolutely hated. I was working full-time in a cubicle job at a major bank, doing a job that was neither my area of interest or my skill set. I was making a LOT of money. But I was utterly miserable.
Writing and blogging helped me survive that period of my life. Blogging also helped me find the way back to my God-given gifts and talents. I’ve always been a storyteller. In fact, if I didn’t have the chance to write and blog and express myself, I would probably be worse off.
I fell in love with blogging and writing online so much that I realized that it was time to start looking for work that would allow me to write more. Fast forward to the time I’m writing this blog post — working for a local newspaper not far from Dallas.
Blogging also gave me a chance to share my faith, something I take very seriously. There’s a lot of people who need inspiration, encouragement and uplifting. So, blogging over the years afforded me the chance to share thoughts and messages that hopefully made a difference in the lives of others.