Freewriting: Work

Today was an exceptionally good day at work. It didn’t start out that way. Not that it was a bad one by an means. It was just a little blah. Kind of boring. Kind of difficult. Kind of just there. But then it got much better toward the end when I got the opportunity to run an errand with one of my favorite coworkers. It was nice to spend some time with them away from the desk. Actually, I prefer just about any activity that gets me away from my desk.

Overall, it’s been a good work week. I seem to have a better grasp at handling certain situations than I did even a week ago. I’ve noticed that I’m being asked to do more things outside of my comfort zone. Often times it doesn’t feel good, but I have to remind myself that it’s helping me to develop into a more well-rounded employee.

One of the coolest things to occur this week was an impromptu men’s meeting. In an office of over 20 employees, only six of us are men. It’s rare that we’re all together in one place. All but one of us gathered around my desk to have a nice chat about our experiences as married men. It was so fun that I’m thinking we need to schedule some guys time every week. Lol.

On last Friday I found out that I didn’t get a library position I interviewed for a month ago. I wasn’t terribly upset. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve come feel something of a renewed sense of purpose at my job. Apparently, not getting the job is a sign that God has something better in store for me and the work on my current job isn’t quite finished yet. I’m good.

I’m looking forward to the challenges that await me on tomorrow.

 

Interior Monologue: Yourself

I was feeling a bit froggy on a visit to Barnes and Noble last night and decided to purchase John Gillard’s Creative Writer’s Notebook. The description on the back cover reads: “Creative Writer’s Notebook is the perfect journal for anyone interested in the art of good writing. It profiles the life and work of 20 important writers from the past century, and includes numerous activities and creative prompts to help you develop a distinctive writing style.”

Although fiction writing has never been my forte, I saw enough good stuff in here that convinced me to give it a try.

My first exercise is from the chapter highlighting James Joyce. The author describes Joyce as arguably the most influential writer of the twentieth century. He goes onto say that his masterpiece, Ulysses (published in 1922), challenged the traditional rules of style and form, and changed the landscape of modern literature.

Joyce was a master of writing in the interior monologue through a “stream of consciousness,” where the goal is to write down whatever thought comes to mind without any regard to sentence structure and style. The first exercise in this section is to write a monologue from my own perspective with each thought being a continuation of the last.

What you’re about to read are the unfiltered handwritten thoughts I wrote in the book. It may not be pretty, but here goes:

It’s a Saturday night and I’m at home with my wife. I live for these kinds of evenings. I live for the weekend. I’m sitting here exercising my writing skills in this book. I’m glad I purchased it to begin with especially considering the fact I’ve never been too keen on being a fiction writer. I attempted to write a little more in my administrative writing project. I think I want to adjust it into a quote book. For one, this would be  much easier than writing a straightforward narrative. I’m very into quotes and inspiring others, so I think that I’m properly equipped to write this. I’m feeling a renewed connection to writing after hearing the news that I didn’t get the job. Until I find out if I’m accepted to grad school I’m focusing on my writing. I want to become the best writer I can be. Maybe not getting this job is the best thing to happen to me. The third shift would’ve been a huge adjustment. I’m really starting to gel with the current crew we have. Plus summer is around the corner and it’s my favorite time to work in Advancement. I just want to continue to do the best job that I can do for the next two years or so. Going to grad school will at least give me the sense that I’m accomplishing something worthwhile. And who knows. Something drastic could arise over the next few months at work. Maybe I’ll be promoted, even though I really don’t want to work in a writing related role at my job. I’m content with becoming a better admin. There is so much that I still need to perfect. Back to the writing. I need a breakthrough in my writing this year. I’m tired of doing a blog or writing a piece of a story here and there. I sound like a broken record, but I have to make a change in my writing life. I have to stop being lazy. I need to stop spending so much of my free time watching tv. I have so many resources in my house to aid my writing. I spend most of my time staring at them instead of cracking them open and practicing. I’m trying to change this. Hopefully writing in this book on a daily basis will ignite the spark that takes my writing habit to the next level. I’m 31 and feel a big urge to make something happen before I’m 32. I have to know that I’m on the right track with my writing. I don’t want to enter 2018 as just another aspiring author and mediocre blogger. I want people to know my name. I want to be a good writer for myself. I want people to get something meaningful from my writing. I have to push myself even when every fiber of my being hates doing so.

People Don’t Enter Into Your Life by Accident

tumblr_mpd92gfsMj1qjm9bpo1_500Have you ever heard the expression that some people come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime?

I sense that my coworkers fall into each of these three categories.

I’ve felt a very strong connection to many of my coworkers lately. In the five years I’ve been at my job I can’t recall a period where I’ve meshed as well with so many others. A big reason is due to the infusion of new blood into our office. We’ve made several new hires to our team over the last few months.

At first, I was a bit reluctant to get close to my new coworkers. As I loosened up and became more comfortable I discovered that a good portion of these people fit my personality to a tee. I enjoy discussing life issues including the challenges we face on the job. It’s always a good thing when you can be honest in sharing your insecurities with others knowing they’ll offer positive solutions instead of just complaining.

My relationships with the more seasoned members of my team have taken on a deeper meaning as well. There has been a renewed connection even with the people whose paths I cross from other departments. I’ve caught the revelation that there is a greater purpose for all of us being together for 40 plus hours per week.

Work is a big part of life. It’s a blessing to spend this time around people I genuinely like.

Mistakes Will Happen

Everyone makes mistakes.

I tend to get down when I mess up, especially at work. I’ll begin to think that I must be incredibly stupid at times. Whenever these thoughts cross my mind I try my best to shut them down immediately and replace them with something more optimistic.

No matter how badly I mess up I must remind myself that the workday will eventually end. I’ll get a fresh start tomorrow. The key thing is that I learn from my mistakes and improve in that area.

I may even mess up the next day, but at least it won’t be as bad as before.

Why I Enjoy Writing in the Morning

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There is something magical about writing early in the morning. It’s the time of day when my mind is the least cluttered. All I need is a warm cup of coffee and my journal book and I’m good.

I can’t promise that what I write during this time will even make sense. My number one priority is to get something down on paper. Grammar and sentence structure are the least of my concerns.

I encourage you to try this if you’re a new writer looking to establish a daily routine. Even if just writing for five minutes, you will be amazed at how easily your thoughts flow in the morning hours.

In Salute of Women

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In honor of International Women’s Day, I’d like to share the following essay on the impact that women have made in my life. I hope you enjoy:

It seems that my life is dominated by women.

As a young boy, I felt that girls were nasty. I wanted no part of them or their cooties. By the time puberty hit, they were all I could think of. Aside from a couple of church and schoolyard crushes, I never fancied myself as much of a lady’s man during my adolescence.

When I got to college I found myself becoming more drawn to women, but not in the typical way you would think. As I progressed through this crucial period of my life I began to realize that a lot of my really close friends were of the female variety. I met so many notable women in college, including my wife, who continue to play a major role in my life to this day.

Without question, there is no personal area that women have made more of an impact in   than my work life. I’ve spent the last decade working in predominately female environments.

During the five years I  worked at a grocery store (which really meant doing everything in the store minus cashiering), I was often the only male bagger on the front end with a majority crew of female cashiers. This job was a defining moment as it really broke me out of my reserved, quiet shell. I met many of my future best friends at this job and still keep in touch with them regularly.

I currently work as the receptionist in an office where the number of women is more than double that of men. These women range in age from their late twenties through early fifties. This job is different from any I’ve ever held in that I’m a man working in a field that is traditionally dominated by women in an office that is filled with them. In some ways it’s a unique play on the usual gender roles in the workplace. I’m the one watering plants, sorting mail, making copies, answering phones, ordering supplies, and making sure that everything in the office is taken care of.

Although I maintain a good relationship with my male coworkers, I don’t spend anywhere near the amount of time with them as I do my female counterparts since they’re constantly on the go. I’m around the women from the moment I arrive until my departure. And is there never a dull moment with this crew.

 

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The most important woman in my life, my wife D’toya.

One of the things I enjoy about working with women is that they aren’t afraid to express their feelings and are willing to offer an open ear whenever I have something to discuss. If they remotely sense that something is wrong with me they’ll stop to ask the reason why. On the flipside, they all have unique personalities which means that I must know how to properly deal with them at all times. They keep me on my toes.

I’m no women’s studies expert, but a key to successful communication with any woman is to listen and treat them with respect (throwing in the occasional compliment never hurts).

While I have great appreciation for women I do need to forge some stronger relationships with the men folk. But that’s another story for another day.

Honestly, I wouldn’t be half the man I am today if not for the lessons I’ve learned from all the powerful women that have shaped my life. From my wife to my mother and sister to in-laws to church members and coworkers, I’ve come to discover a lot about myself through them.

For as long as I live, I’ll be indebted to each of these special ladies. I dare not list all their names, because they are far too numerous, but I think about them daily and if any of them are reading this then they know exactly who they are.

Thank you all.

 

 

500 Writing Prompts: My Favorite Shoes

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Talk about your favorite pair of shoes and why you love them so much.

This is a lighter topic than what I’m used to writing from this book, but it’s still a good exercise to get my creative juices flowing.

My favorite pair of shoes are a gray pair of Nike sneakers I purchased two years ago, from Rack Room Shoes.

I’ve never been a big shoe person. I usually buy a pair or two every couple of years. I’ve never purchased any pair of shoes that cost over $60. I shop at Rack Room since I can always buy one pair and get the second half off.

The reason I like this pair of Nikes so much is because they make almost everything in my wardrobe look better. They go with my t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, jackets, jeans, and workout clothes. They’re in surprisingly good shape considering how much I wear them.

When it comes to sneakers, I mostly gravitate toward black, gray or some combination of the two since I can easily toss them on without having to put too much thought into whether they match what I have on.

With shoes, and my overall fashion sense, I subscribe to the theory that simpler is better.

Selfishness Will Get You Nowhere

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If you can do something to make someone’s day a little better, by all means do so. Don’t be so consumed about yourself. I’ve learned from personal experience that selfishness won’t get you anywhere in life.

This doesn’t mean that you should never think about your own needs. You should never be a doormat for anyone. Selfishness only becomes problematic when you constantly put your own needs above those of everyone else around you. If you only desire the best for your immediate family then you’re missing the boat. You should want your friends, coworkers, extended family, and everyone else in your circle of influence to be successful.

The Wrestling Match of Life

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I’ve been a wrestling fan for most of my life. Although I don’t watch as regularly as I used to I still consider myself a diehard fan.

When thinking of something motivational to write, I thought that wrestling would be a good starting point. After all, a wrestling match is a good analogy for the situations we face in life.

Hear me out.

The typical rules of a match dictate that two opponents fight each other in a ring. Let’s say you’re competitor A. Competitor B could be any type of adversary—fear, depression, a rowdy coworker, etc. A wrestling match is decided when you pin your opponent’s shoulders to the mat for three seconds.

However, let’s say that you’re up against an opponent who is too tough to handle on your own. You need reinforcements.

Well this is exactly what a tag team match is for. The rules are the same with the only difference being that each opponent has a partner to assist. But there are multiple variations even within this style of match. You can have a six, eight or twelve-man tag. There are even handicap matches for those who really want to stack the deck in their favor. Every battle in life isn’t fair so you have a right to level the playing field to your advantage.

Just like life’s situations, a match can really get out of control. Wrestlers will start inside the ring only to end up in the crowd, backstage, or even outside of the arena. I’ve seen so many different kinds of matches: falls count anywhere, no holds barred, tornado tag team, lumberjack, last man standing, ironman, steel cage, scaffold, ladder, triple threat, fatal four way, battle royal, and even a casket match. The possibilities are endless.

A wrestler may use whatever weapons they have at their disposal to inflict punishment on an opponent. Over the years, I’ve seen several unique weapons utilized in wrestling: tables, chairs, brass knuckles, fire extinguishers, kendo sticks, trash cans, forklifts, etc. If you can name it then there is a good chance its been used in a match somewhere. The same goes for life. Use whatever tools you have—friends, family, the bible, prayers—to tilt the fight in your favor.

The goal of any wrestler is to stand in the center of the ring with their hand raised in victory after a long, hard-fought battle. You can be up against drug addiction, family problems, or issues on the job. No matter the challenge you must do whatever it takes to emerge victorious.

Life is the one match that none of us can afford to lose.