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Leaving Room For Our Own Quiet Voices

This is simply a wish.

That in amongst all the things we have learned about how to use blogging and social media to connect, engage, amuse, tell stories, sell, teach, promote, spread the word, raise eyebrows, raise money, raise a profile, draw attention… we remember also to leave some room for our own quiet voices.

I confess: I don’t really know what that means in practice.

I might have ideas about what it means for me.

I might have watched what others have done, returning to a personal blog to write their own stuff, or blasting through (sometimes self-imposed) rules to reclaim the right to write.

But in terms of patterns and trends, I don’t know. Perhaps it has got a bit too noisy to tell ;-)

I don’t know if it means a return to personal blogs, over and above those that people use for work and business.

I don’t know if it means trying to spread the word (quietly) about the possibilities of a quiet theory of influence.

I don’t know if I’m perhaps being nostalgic for a time when it seemed easier to write and share with less in the way of expectations about impact and more interest in making simple human connections, more quirkiness, more humour, more material that didn’t remotely fit within a strategy or plan.

I don’t know if this is just wishful thinking.

But I know there are voices I don’t hear so much any more, and words of yours that I miss.

Perhaps others will know how we could do this.

But from me it is simply: a wish.

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  1. Amy Palko says:

    This is my wish too, Joanna. I became so lost in the shoulds and the shouldn’ts and the strategizing and the branding that I just stopped writing. I lost my voice. It was a breakthrough last week when it dawned on me that it was all just artificial rules… and I didn’t have to follow any of them.

    And now that I write this, it all seems a bit obvious, doesn’t it? Why do we let our voices become controlled in this way?

  2. Glenda Childers says:

    I love the simplicity of blogging from my heart. Perhaps this is part of what you mean.


  3. Conor Ebbs
    Twitter: ebbstachio


    I understand. I’ve taken a step back to create as I did before I found the endless stream of social media.

    Twitter is gone for now, and I’m concentrating more on song-writing and poetry. Create something great has always been the mantra. But it got lost, for me, in the noise and the haze,


  4. Janice Cartier
    Twitter: jancartier

    A lovely wish at that. For the wild words that issue from a primal spring, and follow a personal path we cut through the terrain. I like to drink from those, pure and cool and flowing right to the heart of things.

  5. Arthur Durkee

    Actually I think this begins with IGNORING the patterns and trends.

    It begins with choosing to detach from the waves of trend, fashion, and connectivity that everyone seems to expect us to do. Why do they expect it? Because everyone else is doing it? That’s not a good enough reason, though.

    It has indeed gotten too noisy and overstimulating all too often. I don’t do most social networking media (Facebook etc.) precisely because I don’t want to spend time on something so culturally noisy, and let’s face it, not very informationally or spiritually deep.

    Twitter is absolutely the shallowest form of interaction ever invented: it is data-rich but information-poor. You never get any depth or genuine interaction. It is much more noise than signal. Facebook has the potential to be more, but most users use Facebook the same way they use Twitter: as shallow autobiography, not for genuine connection. Again, more noise than signal.

    To be honest, the best way to hear those quiet inner voices is to shut everything off, at least for periods of time. An artist friend of mine realized she needed more time in which to focus purely on making art, so she gave away her television set. That may seem radical, but it works. At the very least, turn everything off and walk away from the computer for at least a couple of hours a day.

    I spend my first few hours or so each morning reading, meditating, writing, doing Reiki on myself. That sort of thing. At least for the first hour every morning. That tends to make the whole day go more smoothly. I don’t put on the radio or TV for background noise, ever. My house is often very silent. When I write in the morning, sometimes I write on the laptop, but sometimes I write a poem out by hand, because writing by hand slows it down and allows it to sink in. You have time for thinking it through before you write it down. Eventually I do copy poems into Word files, and revise them there.

    But it’s really very basic, and even quite old advice: Unplug. Disconnect. Take some personal quiet time.

    I have a good relationships these days with my quiet inner voices. I rely on that for inspiration, intuition, guidance, and creative direction.

  6. Wendee says:

    Lovely, Joanna. This is my wish, too. xo

  7. Meredith says:

    This is lovely and so timely for me. In a somewhat creative slough, I’ve been listening too much to the “marketers” and feeling pressure to use the social media more, when I really don’t want to.

    I like to read blogs like yours that affirm my natural inclination to simply write my stories and hope that those people who need to read them will find them. For me there has always been a mystery to encountering a story. I think too much targeted marketing interferes with the magic.

    I love your blog.

  8. Ella says:

    Hello, Joanna,

    I’ve come across your blog while looking for blogs about writing. I finally got the courage to publish some stuff of my own and was interested in what other people might write in the same area.
    I liked what you said about confident writing. At least that’s what I’m trying to do. :)
    Hope to stay in touch!


  9. Joanna Paterson
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    @Amy Palko: I think a lot of it comes from good intention Amy - we want to connect, share, teach, learn, inter-weave our words with others, so we seek ways to ‘better’ do that (being most excellent seekers!). But then we get tangled up in what we’ve learned, and start squashing the very voices we were wanting to share in the first place. I’m glad to see you reclaiming your own space, your way.

    @Glenda Childers: yes it is Glenda - when people write like that it has a different quality, softer, and quieter

    @Conor Ebbs: that sounds like a wise move Conor. I do still like Twitter for serendipitous conversations, but retreating into quiet spaces is most definitely needed too

  10. Joanna Paterson
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    @Janice Cartier: what a beautiful comment Janice :-) I will keep on trying to carve out the channels to let my words flow in this way.

    @Arthur Durkee: I understand what you mean about ways to find our own quiet inner voices, and we all do need to find our own ways to do that. I have to say that Twitter - like most things - depends on how you use it and who you connect with. I have enjoyed many interesting and enriching conversations there, and made some strong online connections and friendships.

    Part of what I was thinking about in writing this post was how we *share* the words that emerge from the connection with our inner voices - is there still a space on the online world for that kind of writing? can we make space for it? do readers still want it?

    @Wendee: I am grateful that you are still blogging it so :-)

  11. Joanna Paterson
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    @Meredith: there is a lot of pressure that flows from the advice out there Meredith and I too feel that it gets in the way of how we wish things to be, and how we want to trust our words to flow (and connect). Perhaps it won’t be the fast path to success (whatever that is) but it might be a way to feel more relaxed and congruent about our work.

    PS thanks for the final comment!

    @Ella: good to meet you Ella, and I’m glad you’ve find the courage


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