I started this blog in 2015, hoping to build a digital portfolio of both writing samples and personal reflections on the things that I found to be important and relevant. Also, I had just finished my master’s thesis and was trying to balance the stress and the tedium of searching for a job.
Around that time, I received some great advice from the chief marketing officer of an international pharmaceutical company.
“Many skills can be picked up in the workplace, but how to write well is not a process that employers want to take the time to teach. So, if you can hone your writing skills, you’ll be an instant asset to any organization.”
Or something like that.
He clarified that it didn’t matter what I wrote, I should just make it a practice to practice.
At the time, I wasn’t actually interested in a job in communications, writing or editing (all key components of my current role), but I knew I wanted to do everything possible to make myself more marketable to potential employers.
So, I began to write, starting with this sweet letter to myself based on a random influencer prompt on LinkedIn.
From there, I settled into a decent rhythm of figuratively unpacking my international travel experiences country by country. The process of virtually revisiting the wonders of the world was so therapeutic, especially at a time I was feeling extremely discontent in my personal and professional opportunities.
Sprinkled in along with my travel memories, I would periodically unleash my musings on random topics—simultaneously allowing myself the creative space to tell stories and process life, and hopefully providing inspiration and encouragement to others.
Then I got a job (or two, or three) and I lost momentum on my writing projects. I fell into a creative rut (or two, or three) and rarely would I hit publish on any blog posts. This was due to a variety of circumstances, one of them being a lack of support, motivation and stimulation at work. I wasn’t feeling challenged or intellectually engaged. After a season of being whiny, I decided to quit my job and purse a new position as a writer of some sort.
A touch out of practice, I logged back on to Word Press, determined to get back in shape.
In 2018, I made a personal goal to write at minimum of one blog post per month (obviously hoping to do more). At the time, I hadn’t completed my mini tours of travel experiences yet, so I dove back in (via the Baltic Sea) with a post on my trip to Lithuania.
Every month brought new excitement as I started to re-explore the world through a fairly new-to-me mode of communication. It’s one thing to write a caption on a Facebook post or scrawl a note in a scrapbook (does anyone even scrapbook anymore??). It’s another to bring one’s self and others directly into an experience. After a drought of writing anything besides professional (and extremely boring) emails, I needed to reconnect with my senses and put my storytelling cap back on.
Fortunately, in the genre of travel-writing, it’s pretty easy to rediscover the adventure. What had I seen? What words did I pick up from which languages? What were my favorite desserts? How did I feel in the moment? What made the journey significant to me? How would these experiences connect with a reader?
I didn’t have to be an authority on travel to have a relevant point of view. I just needed to be authentic in my descriptions, and most importantly, I needed to carve out the time to reflect, write, edit and repeat.
This blog has always been a personal space for me. Not one in which I bare my soul, but where I share what I’ve learned from moments of surreal success to seasons of devastating perceived failure. Once I restarted writing in 2018, I only missed one month of publishing a blog post. I had some close calls of missing my deadline (including this article), but I consistently hit post and sent my words into the digital universe, hoping they would land in front of the right people at the right time, but recognizing that first and foremost, this is a place to practice.
To be honest, I considered not making an effort to post tonight. February 2021 has been long and full of a ton of work. I didn’t finish a book to review this month. I haven’t traveled internationally since 2017. I didn’t have a clear topic, verse or quote on which to reflect.
But that’s just it. The point has always been to practice. To try new things. To intentionally reflect on my experiences in the world. To challenge myself to create something out of nothing. To just keep typing, even if the words don’t come out quite right.