Show Up & Write: Why it Matters

an antique typewriter up close with paper in it and the words stories matter typed on it. photo credit Suzy Hazelwood on
photo by Suzy Hazelwood

Showing Up or Going Through the Motions?

What happens when you show up & write? Does it matter? Is it weird? Does it make a difference? Is it time-consuming? Do others know you have nothing to say? (Tip: you have more to say than you realize.) Is it NECESSARY???

Recently, the power of showing up for yourself and personal writing, especially when it’s the last thing you want to do, was reaffirmed for me for what feels like the millionth time, and I’d love to share.

As our first Wednesday Writing Group sessions of 2023 got underway, a member who’s been attending for about a year revealed, “I finally made sense of the words today. I understood what I needed to say and was able to write my way through it.” This revelation happened after joining a second writing session of the day, a new option in 2023: four time slots every Wednesday, with the opportunity to attend 16 – 20 sessions per month.

We listened as she shared a self-assessment of her personal writing process,

“Most of the time, showing up to our weekly sessions means I write and listen. Then, I say a few words when it’s time to share, things I think will help move the spotlight away from me.”

I couldn’t help but smile as she shared what I watched over the past year in weekly groups and saw for 27 years in classrooms and training rooms as teenagers and adults who didn’t always choose to be there worked hard at being invisible.

“Showing up” is often replaced with going through the motions—showing your face and hoping no one notices you. The goal? To stay off the radar while appearing to be present— in the space, in the moment, and in the conversation.

Sharing Advice: What Happens When You Show Up & Write?

I wondered, What changed for her? as she shared this advice with the newest members,

“Keep showing up. You think it doesn’t help and it doesn’t really matter, but it does. One day, things just start to click.”

I was reminded of how often this happened with students in my high school classroom and colleagues in professional development sessions. I learned over the years that adults are frequently as resistant to new learning situations as teens. No one wants to fail, look “stupid” or “vulnerable.” I get it. But over time, in a carefully crafted environment designed to be safe and nurturing, personal writing leads to things changing— attitudes, understanding, interest in writing, and eventually… life circumstances.

We all have a story to discover and unravel. Whether we share it or not is up to us. But knowing our story and growing from it? That, my friend, can make the difference between a life lived and a life survived.

Since starting Wednesday Writing Groups in 2021, I’ve noticed the weekly hour can create the same reticence in some members, especially new ones.

Truth? Our weekly writing groups can be tough. We unravel our minds and hearts. Sometimes, showing up feels like a slog through the mud. Self-discovery takes us to places we weren’t expecting. But the mud gets thinner (or dries & cracks) as clarity creeps in. Glimmers of hope, truth, and possibility peek through. This is why the community is so darn important. Together, we can go through the emotions and know that it’s a safe space with Good Humans who understand or at least, support, what we’re feeling.

Deciding How to Show Up & Write

Of course, there are lots of ways to show up for yourself. And personal writing/journaling may feel weird or uncomfortable for you. Possibly unnecessary or ‘extra.’ I get that, too. But spoiler alert— I’m on a mission to change that mindset. Why? Here’s what our member said… (again, for the folks in the back row)

“Keep showing up. You think it doesn’t help and it doesn’t really matter, but it does. One day, things just start to click.”

I say, “Amen, sister!” Show up & write. Things will begin to make sense. Maybe not the sense you wanted or expected, but sense nonetheless.

According to James Clear in Atomic Habits, combining an established habit that we like to do with a new habit that we WOULD like to do is an effective way to show up for ourselves. Check out this article for other ways to show up for yourself. See if any are already part of what you do OR things you’d like to add.

Then, I invite you to stack that habit with writing for 15 minutes and feel the magic. You might be wondering, “What does that mean and how do you do it?” Tap here to read more about ‘habit stacking.’

So, what would you discover if you showed up for yourself and made time for personal writing? Want to learn more about our weekly writing groups and the magic of 15-minute writing? Or start with a writing resource you can use on your own? Download this free one and let me know what you think. If you’re an Instagram user, find us at the hashtag #QuickWriteClub for more inspiration (and community).

Because it’s all a process, after all.