In the past few days, several people have commented on my writing style or ability or skill. Geez, I am so far from where I want to be with it, so it’s nice some people like it. But here’s the thing, here is how I think about writing or better said communicating.
First of all, what do I want to communicate? I want to provide everyone including myself the right information that tells fuel what to do so we do work. Our fuel knowing what to do to do what matters. That’s it. Period.
But because I don’t know most people who read my work, the best I can do is to remind people to inform their energy.
As long as I keep that in mind, I have some idea where to head. But what people don’t see or hear is that I talk with people a LOT. I am a good listener when I need to listen, but very often I need to talk, to say things outloud and fortunately I have some friends who tolerate this. I used to use email to do this, but realized too many people were not reading what I wrote, not because they weren’t interested, but because email became a chore to them. Okay, many of them had no desire to wade through my prose or they told me they read it as they went to sleep. Great, thanks.
I am ALWAYS looking for the right words, or better said in this technological era, the right symbols. Pictures, videos, music, whatever it is that can tell our fuel what to do or why it is important to do.
Stanley Fish once wrote an essay called Theory and Dennis Martinez. It was about Baltimore Oriole pitcher Dennis Martinez and his manager Earl Weaver. Fish told of how the television commentators went on and on about one of Weaver’s visits to the mound. They claimed Weaver was telling him what to do and how to think, maybe giving some technical advice. They filled several minutes of dead air time.
After the game, they asked Martinez what Weaver had said to him. His answer? “He told me to throw strikes.” The announcers did not believe him, but the truth is Martinez knew what that meant. Do what matters. Stop messing around. He knew how to do it, he just was distracted.
The announcer’s job was to fill dead air on television. Weaver’s job was to inform Martinez’s energy to do what mattered. The announcer’s job, their work, in the end would be measured by ratings which translate into advertising which means money for the owners. Martinez and Weaver were measured by winning games which might also mean ticket sales and therefore more money for the owners.
But here’s the thing as I see it and this is the challenge we all face. What happens when the money is the object, when the money from entertainment is more important than the winning? What are we learning?
The job of the announcer is very different than the coach. The announcer wants to build the drama, articulate the battle between pitcher and batter. The coach wants to eliminate or minimize the drama. Just do what you need to do. If you believe what you’re doing matters, you will battle the drama the Storyteller creates in your head because it matters so much to you. You feel fear if you’re afraid you might screw up. Or you might be inspired and jacked and that creates energy. The announcer and the coach are at odds even if, in the end, they are making money for the same person.
But it all comes back to energy. The fuel to do the work. Does your energy know what to do and how to do it? If it doesn’t, do you create more energy that needs more information? Or do you breathe and relax and still the energy so it can listen, so it can wonder instead of worry?
And that is my long winded explanation of writing. I write to inform energy. I write to remind myself and others to wonder, to inform energy. The better I write the less energy I need to do work. The fewer words I use, the less energy I either use up or create unnecessarily.
I know what Promise and Wonder and Power mean to me so I only need to see those words. They are symbols, reminders to me of what matters. But it has taken years to understand this. Throw strikes. I know what that means. I know how to do that to a degree.
The term “informed energy” is not sexy. Most people roll their eyes when I say it. but to me, it simply means fuel that knows what to do.
That is why I write…and that dictates how I write…I am working on it…
P. S. There is one great book I doubt most people have seen about writing. It’s called Artful Sentences by Virginia Tufte. That’s good writing.