There’s a tussle that goes on in many of our lives, between the tangible and the intangible. I know it’s not just me because I end up discussing this with many of my career clients. Most human beings work on both planes and feel unfulfilled if they don’t hit the right balance. People who work at high-level “thinking” jobs often express a wish they could produce something they could hold; they often envy carpenters or builders. Those who work with their hands for a living often have a rich inner life – like the housecleaner I interviewed who writes songs while he works.
It’s a struggle writers can feel. What we create can be both tangible and intangible depending on the circumstance and how it’s used.
So, how to strike right balance for you? The answer will be very individual but here are some thoughts:
- Do some practical work. As you might have noticed from my last post, I’ve been helping out with my school’s drive to be rebuilt. I sent out a press release (late!) one night this week and came downstairs the next morning to hear my words being read by Stu Mills on Ottawa Morning. Pretty tangible.
- Go on a flight of whimsy. If you’ve been doing too much practical work, write some poetry. Let your mind go, let the words flow; it doesn’t matter if it never sees the light of day.
- Format your work and print it out so you can hold it and read it. Self-publish a copy just for you or a few friends – U of T’s Print-on-Demand BookPOD service lets you do this right now. Or send it to your e-reader. Make it something real even if it’s just for you.
- Or write, write, write and do something tangible on the side. I quilt. Some people cook. Or garden. Or paint a room, build a shed. Whatever. Satisfy your tangible needs and you’ll soon long to create again.
In my author bio and interview posted this week over at Still Moments, I said “if you never have fun you’ll never have anything fun to write about”. This is another benefit of making sure your tangible needs are met – it can only give you more to write about.