Writerly Wisdom that Will Improve Your Own Life Story
I will never understand why it’s called Medium when it’s home to such high quality writers.
I know it’s the medium in which we share our stories but honestly, I think we should re-title to Usdium, because it’s not the text on the screen that showcases value: it’s us. Our words. Our intentions. Our storytelling souls. Or at least bloody Medamn, because damn. Have you read some of the astounding stuff they stick on here? It’s Mediunbelievable.
Much like the five writers I’ve listed below.
Some of Medium’s Finest™ and not necessarily because they’re the most well known writers on the platform. This is nothing to do with their follower count or frequency of posts. It isn’t even drawn from the fact that I’m (not so) secretly in love with each of them. These five are five of my favourite writers (not an exhaustive list, by the way. That’s like asking me to choose which inch of Robert Pattinson’s jawline is my favourite) because, much like my favourite biscuits, they make my insides feel good. They have provided me with so much value, they have sustained my soul in numerous ways, they have emboldened my entire life, day after day, just by sticking a couple letters in a certain order so that I can blissfully digest them.
Trust me. You’ll see what I mean:
1. “When you’re a creator, nothing you make is a waste of time.”
Itxy Lopez, more like Itxy Highpez because she is one of this Earth’s greatest natural highs. Her words are addictive and though she’s a pretty tiny lady, her impact is collosal. I am in love with everything born from her fingertips and everything attached right to them.
Granted, this is a quote from musician Annie Clark that Itxy included in her article, How to Make Magic with Your Words, but actually she’s done what she does best and took this quote, dipped it in Oreo ice-cream and made it tastier than ever.
Shortly after I’d read it, in a little writerly Whatsapp group we’re in in which another literary love of my life had said that she’d got nothing completed that day and thus felt like it was a waste, Itxy replied:
“But have you really wasted your day? Sometimes I [feel like] that but then I’m like, well I had that great laugh with my sisters, also I cleaned the room, and I put food in my system which is important.” (Super important, unless the system in question is your old Nintendo Wii then yeah, abort).
And that just drove home the message behind the above quote.
As creators, nothing you make is a waste of time. No matter the outcome, you have created something. You have brought something into existence that wasn’t there a few hours prior. If it seems crappy, if it didn’t go to plan, if it doesn’t contribute to anything or lead you anywhere else, that doesn’t matter. You use that experience, you learn from it, you grow because of it and you immortalise yourself within it. As human beings, nothing you do is a waste of time. No matter the activity, you have been human for a while. You have lived this life you’ve been given, you have shown the universe that you are alive.
The only “waste of time” here is not doing. Is not making, not creating, not living. Whether you’re a creator or an athlete or an excessively long-haired princess, you need to put your time to use. Don’t get trapped in a self-made tower. Create things — good, bad and subjectively ugly things. Do things — productive, unproductive or that happy middle ground we tend to label as “napping.” Be things — a good friend, a wise leader, a beekeeper.
The only waste of time is when you don’t use your time here on this Earth.
2. “Outcomes are vacations at best. The process is the moment-to-moment reality of your existence. To have a bad, uninspired process is to have a bad, uninspired life.”
Zach Klebaner is the (kle)bane of my life, assuming of course today is Opposite Day. Because his words are the very antithesis of distress and misfortune. They are the remedy to misery, not the reason for it. And can’t you see why?
This quote comes from Zach’s post, How to Embrace the Process and Enable Your Creativity, but honestly his words inspired not just my creative life, but my entire life. Because process is infused into all that we do.
We all crave the weeks holiday to Barbados that we’ve already booked time off work for. It’s what keeps us ploughing on through the year. We practically live for it. Every day that we’re not on vacation we’re simply saving up a couple extra pennies to spend for when we are finally on vacation. But that ain’t good, my friend. If we lived only for that week away, then we’d live a maximum of 40 weeks of our lifetime. That’s less than a year. We wouldn’t even reach our first birthday.
We all want the dinner to be ready (if I ever get married, I’m walking down the aisle not to the Wedding March but to the sound of my microwave beeping), but we hate slogging though the meal prep. We all want to write a book, but we feel betrayed by the universe when we realise we actually have to write it. We all want to fall in love, but the idea of swiping away on Tinder feels (and often is, if you open certain photos) grotesque.
We all want the outcome, the sunlit beach loungers and open bar, but we’re pretty reluctant to deal with the process first.
But like Zach said, the process is the second-by-second play of our day. It’s life, being lived here and now. “To have a bad process is to have a bad life.” We’ve got to be willing to see the sunlight that streaks into the office whilst we’re on a call. To enjoy the “writing” as much as the “having written.” To nibble the carrots whilst we’re slicing them. To be okay with the “getting to know” phase of a new relationship.
Because the process, really, is where you get to know your own self.
3. “You can combine hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen to make formaldehyde, but you can’t combine them to make a Chevrolet.”
Loudt Darrow, more like Loud and Narrow because he has distilled and delivered such a super important and distinct message, and he’s done so loudly.
In the context of his article, How to Train Your Mind to Think Original, this line simply means that we can’t make something out of elements, tools, technology we do not yet have. We can’t redecorate on Pluto without the space science to get us there. We can’t become the next president without the backing of the people we’ve yet to communicate with. We can’t make a Chevrolet from a glass of water. Because these outcomes are “beyond the frontier” of what’s possible from our initial starting point.
But then Loudt adds:
“The beauty of this is that the frontier expands with each combination. So the elements combine into amino acids, amino acids form polymers, which combine into proteins — and the chain keeps going: cells, multi-cellular life, plants, fish, terrestrial animals, primates, homo sapiens, engineering, combustion engines, Chevrolets.”
We cannot live a full life without filling our life, moment by moment, each and every day. We cannot live without living — bit by bit by bit.
But the best thing is: the more we live, the more alive we become.
4. “If life is a journey, and we can reinscribe new meanings along the way, let them all be ours.”
Buse is spelled like “muse” because that’s exactly what she is to me. My inspiration, my motivation, my heart. Everything she says is poetry, even when it’s just the description of the chocolate peanut butter she’s spooning out the jar at 2am.
And this quote is no exception. From her article, Writing Is Self-Betrayal, her words, as always, apply not just to writing but the whole essence of life. She explains that writing is a way of unlocking our numerous identities, digging deep into the dark, perverse and often untapped corners of our soul. And in doing so, we are allowed to truly see ourselves, our many selves, and redefine what it means to be a multifaceted person.
“We’ll keep betraying ourselves and recreating new ones until we feel at ease in our own flesh,” she says.
In delving deep through our own lifetime, in looking back and observing the people we once were, we still are, we one day might become — we get to choose. We get to shake off any old identities and brush off the jackets of those we loved the most, slip them on again, saunter down a Venetian street and glimmer brighter than the sun up above us. And soon enough, we’ll find the jackets that fit best. The socks that are the fluffiest. The knickers that don’t ride up our ass.
Eventually, we’ll find where our flesh feels comfiest and just as Buse said, we’ll finally feel at ease.
5. “I didn’t know what my words were capable of, as if abandoning my heart, and readying themselves for you.”
Anangsha is a phenomenal writer, no matter what she’s writing about. Whether that’s books, self-improvement, online courses, productivity, you name it (and then she’ll name it something better). But this quote is actually from something a little different. Drawn from a poem of hers, entitled: A Love Poem (bet you can’t guess what it’s about).
It’s so powerful, and not just in the context of romance, because these words are a sweet yet stark reminder of just how much of an impact we make. Of the marks we leave on this universe, traces of us left everywhere we step, infused into every word we say, there in every choice we make.
Every time we do or make something, whenever we meet and know somebody, we are giving up a piece of our soul and leaving it right there in that thing or that place or that person. We are essentially abandoning a slice of our hearts and giving it out to whatever we are dedicating our time and energy to.
Which is why it’s so important to choose wisely.
To know that those parts of us are going to be cared for, looked after, appreciated. To “ready them” only for those who are ready for us, ready to house these pieces of us and make it a home.
6. Bonus Quote:
“Not everything in life has to make sense to make sense. For simple pleasures and rewarding endeavours, good enough for you is good enough, period. The day you realise you can give things validity by choosing to value them, the whole world becomes your playground.” — Niklas Göke (from his Twitter. See dad, told you scrolling through social media for seven solid hours is beneficial).
Yeah. What he said.
What they all said.
I think they said it pretty well, don’t you?
Oh hey, whilst you’re here: why not put the “em” into your “emails” and lob your name onto my mailing list for weekly em-bellishments on my rose-tinted, crumb-coated lens of life. It’s the equivalent of the reduced section in the supermarket (low value Weird Crap™ that you didn’t know you needed).