Writing: a Tool for Transformation
At Find Your Voice, we believe that writing is one of the most powerful tools for personal and societal transformation.
Yet so many people tell us “I’m not a writer,” or “Writing is not for me.” (Many of our clients, even those with a body of published work, tell us this.) Sometimes what people mean is “I like to write but I don’t feel qualified.” But, other times, what they mean is “Writing may be helpful for you, but it won’t work for me.”
Maybe they tried journaling and it felt silly. Maybe they had a teacher in high school who marked up their paper in red so much that they stopped trying. Maybe they don’t mind writing, but nothing draws them to it. Maybe writing, outside of work, feels like wasted time.
Matthew Ford, Founder and Executive Producer of an experiential marketing agency, was one of these people. In an interview with Matt our FYV podcast, he sheds some light on why writing just wasn’t his thing. He explains,
“It wasn’t that I didn’t believe … that writing was helpful … It was: I’ve got my things to help me, I’ve got my little tool belt already assembled, and I did not feel like I would be a good writer. I thought writing was for smart people.”
It’s not that Matt wasn’t a reflective person: he openly talks about other helpful “tools” such as therapy, meditation/prayer, and exercise, all for helping him process life. Writing just “was never one of those things.”
In essence: I’m good. I don’t feel the need to write. And, when I do, it feels forced, and I don’t like what’s on the page.
Maybe you find yourself thinking something similar. Why try something you’re not drawn to? Why try something new when you’re already getting by?
The Personal Development Tool Belt
The metaphor of a tool belt is a helpful one. You might prefer certain tools and leave others in the box. Why add a tool?
In our view, why NOT add a tool? You might get by using a wrench as a hammer, but wouldn’t it be more effective to use a hammer? All of the tools have, generally, the same purpose (build and fix), but they have different specialties. (That’s as far as my tool metaphor can go. I have spent a total of about five hours of my life in a toolshed.)
You get the point: different activities help us process in different ways. Consistent exercise has proven positive emotional and mental impacts. Meditation is hugely helpful for people. But writing has different strengths.
For Matt, it wasn’t until he hit a new challenge that he was willing to try writing. Like many of us, that challenge was the Coronavirus. His company, dependent upon large gatherings of people (think Comic-Con, SXSW, Coachella), lost millions of dollars in business overnight. He had to let go of his employees and reevaluate his business.
What a life transition.
In need of another tool, Matt took up writing. And, through writing, he created a completely new path for himself. He admitted to himself that his career wasn’t one he wanted for his life and, through writing and conversation, started building something different. A new tool opened up new possibilities.
Writing is Not For Me, Reconsidered
For us, the sentiment “I’m doing fine without writing,” misses the point. What if “fine” wasn’t the end goal? What more is possible for you?
Sure, any new tool is awkward to use at first. And there are *plenty* of stereotypes to be broken down (As Matt so pointedly put it, it’s not simply that “smart people write” and everyone else doesn’t).
It’s work to write, we’ll give you that. But if you’re thinking to yourself, “Writing is not for me,” maybe it’s time to challenge that belief.
Your untapped potential is exactly what motivated Ally when she put together The Power of Writing It Down: A Simple Habit to Unlock Your Brain and Reimagine Your Life. Writing is such a valuable tool. Get curious about yourself and where writing could take you: preorder a copy today: thepowerofwritingitdown.com
Hear more about how writing transformed Matt’s career on our podcast episode, Is Everyone Really a Writer?