Look to your source. Find your truth. These simple words seem, to me, to lie at the heart of what it means to write with confidence. This is one of the values that is taught, explained and shared by Managing with Aloha coach Rosa Say. Although Rosa is teaching the application of these values in business, for managers, and leaders, they have a universal application. And for me they’re at the heart of simple, truthful, responsible writing.
Rosa explains the concept further in her book, Managing with Aloha: Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business: There is an inner wellspring inside all of us, and we will go to this inner well to get healthy. We find reason. We find heart. We find soul. “Nana i ke kumu” Look to the source you have revealed, and let it inspire you. Let it energize you. You will not hesitate and you will not falter.
I see so many of the ideas and emotions that have been discussed here in these words. Thinking about courage, and finding the words to express our deepest held values. Talking about ways that our words can make a difference.
I could write an essay, or a book (maybe someday) on what this means for your writing, and how to get closer to writing that comes from the source. For now, some simple suggestions:
Name your values. Find the plainest words you can for the things that are most important to you. Get used to writing about them, breathing life into them each time you write them down.
Cut the writing clutter.
Sift through the bits of text that are irrelevant, that aren’t adding anything of value. Cut to the chase. What’s the most important thing that’s left? What’s the most important sentence that you want to share?
Recognize your physical reactions.
When you write (or read) something important, something that really matters to you, that’s connected to your source – you might notice a physical reaction. Goosebumps. A shiver going down your spine. The hairs going up on the back of your neck. Pay attention to them. It’s a signal of something signficant.
Find the places that remind you of the source.
Most of us have places (real, physical places) where we feel a sense of connection, or inspiration. A place that seems important, significant, vital. A place that makes us feel more of who we are. Being aware of those places will help you work out who you are. (More on sense of place from Rosa here.)
Connect to that place when you need to write something important.
Imagine yourself there. Feel yourself standing in that place, feet firmly on the ground. Ground yourself there. Drop down from your head, down, down, to your feet firmly planted on the ground. Write from that place.
Spend time at your well.
We all have a place, or places, where we go to drink in: care, respite, inspiration, beauty, love. Breathe it in. Drink deeply. It’ll give you the courage, and confidence, to write from that place of connection, and truth. To write your values, your way.
It’s you taking responsibility to write what matters: your truth, your values, and your story. And it’s you taking heart. Blowing away the whispers of ‘shoulds’. Lifting off the burden of external expectations. Smiling as you write from the source.