When I began writing, I learned that the quality of my writing depended on my ability to acknowledge technical and creative mistakes and address them. Today, I assumed that my best friend was judging my “mistake” and not addressing my unique point of view.
We connected at a break-neck pace until he noticed I changed my mind about going to my college campus to “see the people”. We visit there together regularly so that I might maintain professional and academic dialogue with old professors, future colleagues, and nursing administrators—who were among my biggest supporters when I was an undergraduate.
My friend Greg had assumed the reward outweighed the risk. To his credit, there had been countless occasions when “seeing the people” was just what the doctor ordered.
He said: “What changed five minutes after I asked you about going to campus?
I was processing a text from my aunt about a family member’s sudden death, and I didn’t feel right about going to the place where I knew my aunt was working. Even after I conveyed that message, Greg still probed because he couldn’t be swayed to my conclusion easily. I believed he was judging my integrity and I began sensing major annoyance because my “no” wasn’t good enough.
As time went on, I ignored the three possible times Greg tried to tell me why he persisted. I couldn’t hear how he “was using some new behavioral therapy technique” to gain understanding about my process. In typical writer’s fashion, I reacted.
Writers are known for negative responses to any new technique that throws them into a state of confusion.
Writers don’t always immediately understand that the technique is designed to draw clarity of thought or idea processes. They may not see the logic behind probing because many writers think in frames—-or in windows.
Sometimes one window overtakes the process going on in several other windows. Just like Windows computers, one process can slow the entire system to a crawl.
Greg saw himself as inquisitive: the term he used to justify his line of questions. This inquisition points to why writing is difficult for born writers.
We hate questions that frame our decisions as “mistakes”.
The “No” we act on is just as strong or volatile as our “Yes”.
The last thing we want is criticism about something that may be contrary to the theme of our story. I built my windows—my theme– around Greg and I. When I re-evaluated how “visiting campus” fit into that, I didn’t plan on a tug of war about my “change of decision”.
It’s a delicate balance mixing academic connections and personal connections. If someone isn’t in the mood to do that work, that alone should be reason enough to abandon the issue.
In the same way, we can conclude using my communication lapse, that writing deemed too dialogue heavy loses its message. It stops being concise, and ends up a litany of emotions and questions with no clear direction.
Some choices are just a choice for the moment. If we all wrote a term paper or college dissertation for every logic choice, we’d never nurture creativity the way our spirits intended.
We all have those friends that need to push—in an “experimental” way—-because the doubt within themselves is so strong. They sometimes won’t be brave enough to take your word for it. The endgame to this scenario is having to watch as both people get bogged down by something that is now all about “feelings”.
If feelings mandate purpose, I would never have studied Humanities. The disaster everyone predicted was nowhere near what happened when I began to bravely make my own choice.