no going back

At the beginning of August I decided to try an experiment. Although I am not a person who sets goals, I established four things that I wanted to do with one hour each day–fifteen minutes each. I’m not going to tell you the other three, but the fourth one was to write a post about a sign.

I had started taking pictures of signs in July, and even wrote about a couple of them. I couldn’t imagine a month of coffee cups, but a month of signs, that made sense. And so I started.

My own rule was that I had to take the picture with my phone. No reason, just because. Eventually, I invited pictures from other people. Rob, Robb, Goldie and Becky came through with several each (not a competition, Robb), and today’s comes from Dennis.

Sometimes I knew what the post would be as I took the picture. Sometimes I knew what I wanted to write about and went looking for the picture. Sometimes I got to 11 pm and knew I had to write something and was clueless. Last night was one of those nights and then I got an email from Becky and had my picture.

Here’s what I learned:

  1. writing Turning phrases is way too easy for me…which means that sometimes I crank out posts which are more talking for the sake of hearing my voice than for saying anything with significance. You know that. You read some of them and thought, “this is a stretch.”
  2. The discipline of writing helps me think. I think I’ll be talking more about this reason for writing with Joanna. Because I set myself the task of writing each day, I had to look at my days with greater attention. And then, as I wrote, I often found the post going a very different direction than I had intended.
  3. I have wonderful friends who challenge me to think feelingly. From the pictures to the comments to the twitters, this has been a community project. I have been aware of encouragement and challenge.
  4. I have a 31-post short ebook just waiting to be assembled. And all it took was some time each day.
  5. I am more attuned to listening and watching for signs. I am able to spin. I can take anything and turn it somehow into something. As a result, I am forcing myself to watch more than look (thank you Rob for helping me with that word shift). And that is very healthy.
  6. I have taken steps in writing and in life from which there is no U-Turn. I’m changed and can’t go back.

There is one more post coming tomorrow. I know what the picture is, but, as always, I’m not sure what I will say. But I have the other 3/4 of an hour of commitment before that post, and I am confident that therein will I find my Wisdom.

I am wondering about September, by the way. I’m not doing more signs, not yet. If you have something you’d like me to use as a theme, however, I’m listening.

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7 responses to “no going back

  1. Long time lurker, first time poster, I think. I can’t even remember how I found your blog (maybe Scot McKnight? I can’t remember), but I’m a daily reader. My suggestion for a theme for your next set of posts is “Something I Overheard Today.” If you don’t use it I might, actually. I’m a chronic and incurable eavesdropper, so especially at the university where I teach I’ll have interesting tidbits to share.

  2. Here’s the terrifying thing for me. My hearing is starting to go, and I delight in walking into conversations in the middle and catching only one phrase or sentence…which is often wrong. As a result, it would be a series of posts on “what I thought I heard someone say and just started laughing about!” Thanks for stopping by and saying hello.

  3. Jon, thanks for the insight into your writing process – this month and more generally, including how your writing has changed and does change you. I’m looking forward to exploring these ideas with you some more in September.

    Particularly enjoyed the distinction you make between turning phrases and writing. I know just what you mean in relation to my own words. I know the difference and I know which version I want to try and create.


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