Contemplating the Practice of Writing

Contemplating the Practice of Writing

At these crossroads, I choose writing as a passion to pursue. Writing is something I’ve always done. It’s been necessary and satisfying. Finishing a writing task offers a sense of accomplishment, yet it has been usually associated with professional responsibility. There were expectations from others, clients, students, and colleagues. Writing for others does not preclude a need to do my best and feel proud of my accomplishments.

Writing for myself and following my creative impulses is different. It’s not easier. There’s no less responsibility.  It’s about showing up real. I’m exploring what it means to write about my own life with open-heartedness and honesty. I want to include the hard stuff, which requires me to be bold and brave.

My newfound passion for writing in this personal way is cultivating the practice.  It takes discipline to strengthen a practice.  With writing, when the ideas flow, it’s a good session. When they don’t, it’s a hard slog.  I value the practice. I’m good at practice. I wish I had learned a musical instrument years ago and had practiced to the point where I could embrace the instrument and creatively perform with ease.  I tried to learn the guitar recently, but ease did not come.  My untrained fingers couldn’t engage with hardware - the form and design of the guitar.  I told myself that the structure of my hands and the muscles in my fingers were not suited to handling the guitar comfortably.  I made that up, and maybe it’s true.  Juergen and I went to a guitar store so I could try out a smaller guitar.  It was nice to hold, but when I didn’t want to make the investment, I knew there was more to my learning the guitar than the anatomy of my body. It had to come from my heart. My creative juices needed a different form of expression.

When it comes to writing, my fingers are very practiced using the hardware: the keyboard, and the track pad.  I’m skilled in using my computer, yet I struggle with some shortcut keys. That’s not an anatomical issue, it’s a memory or learning issue, coupled with a desire or need to learn those shortcut keys. For Juergen, learning and using shortcut keys are essential because they make him more efficient. The sum of all the nanoseconds he saves with those shortcuts adds up to highly productive hours, days, weeks, months, years, and in fact, a lifetime.

A Means to Self-Renewal

Writing has been a constant throughout my life. I have very early memories with a pencil in my hand, looking for something to leave my markings on.  My primary school teacher praised me for writing good compositions. I was happy when I received As for essays in history classes.  At Sydney University, in my undergraduate degree, my fine arts professor told me I could make a career in writing marketing copy as I showed a sensitive appreciation for certain artworks, and my style of writing sold them well. I am a lifelong student, meaning I’ve written many academic papers over the years. Simultaneously, I pursued a career in training and education requiring me to write materials and resources, grade papers, and even author a book.

The practice of journaling has been spasmodic. I journal at times when my confidence sinks, or sadness overcomes me.  During times of stuckness, self-criticisms, and ruminations, I find within the courage to confront insecurities to revisit my life’s direction and purpose.  That happens frequently. I’ve become increasingly aware that writing as a practice is the way to self-renewal.  Writing is a form of self-expression that helps me find clarity, and peace of mind, and self-compassion.

Included in my journaling practice is to invite inspirational others into my journey. I get up extra early to read something that awakens my spirit and facilitates personal growth insights that provoke reflection and journaling. At these times, I apply pen to my notepaper to connect to something outside myself that lifts me from my smallness to something bigger that I know I am part of.  It’s this practice that reignites feelings of love and gratitude.


Juergen Berkessel,