“I am a writer.” It took me decades to admit this publicly. For years I had written in secret, filling up stark white notebooks and leather-bound journals with my words, short stories, and poems. I had received awards for my writing as a child and was placed in gifted writing programs in high school. When it came time to choose a major for college, I went with my other passion: human behavior and science. I set upon a course that would lead to a career in psychiatry; a path where story and humanity intersect. What happened along the road that led me to a business career is a story for another day… The important point is that I re-discovered my voice as an adult and took up my pen once again.
Words poured out of me like a geyser and once again I began to fill up .doc files on my pc, having traded my pen for a keyboard. I entered into an enriching relationship with a local feminist writing academy and it was here that I could stand up and say, “My name is Michelle and I’m a writer.” I began the process of setting aside my love for the short story format and embarked upon writing a novel. Halfway through the story, I became enamored with an emerging industry that was changing the world and turned my focus into building a social media marketing consulting firm. I believe that social media is the quintessential conduit for bringing story, human behavior, and science (analytics) together. I had discovered my passion, but in the process of helping companies share their brand voice, their stories, I lost the time to work on my own.
I truly believe in Karma and the universe putting people and experiences in our paths for a reason. I recently had lunch with an amazing writer whom I first met via Twitter. We shared our stories and she encouraged me to find the time to write. Just a few days later I received an email from a writer that I do not know (not sure how I got on her mailing list) sharing a heart-felt and inspirational post. At the bottom of the post was a message about the difficulty in finding the time to write with a link to a book she had just written on the subject. Her words chilled me and inspired the post you are now reading. Here’s what she said,
“It’s not an easy thing to take time to write. The world says that writing doesn’t matter much. Our families and jobs need us. We have to make money. The ugly voices in our head tell us we’re not good enough. There are a ton of reasons why we choose to not write. . . and yet, if we are writers, we must find a way to the page. Over and over again.”
So once again I am coming out of the closet and claiming my title. Thank you universe for sending me people and stories that inspire and move me to action.
My sincerest apologies for letting this blog lay shuttered and gathering dust for such a long time. As many business owners know (especially service providers), the first order of operations is to serve your clients. Unfortunately, I have been extremely busy at C3. Creating Connections Consulting, LLC assisting some amazing businesses in tightening up their social media marketing strategy; creating new training materials for our workshop series, staying on top of the latest in the digital industry; and doing the occasional speaking gig. Throw in life and I had very little time for writing.
I have to be honest, this truly pained me. I am a writer at a heart and have been at the practice since I could hold one of those large yellow pencils and put words to lined paper as a kid. I have been published in several magazines and news stories and am a co-author of a social media book. Once upon a time I was writing for four different blogs and working on a suspense novel.
I’m carving out time into my schedule to return to this practice that I have loved so much. I hope to continue to share my personal perspective on all things digital here in this space. If you are looking for more hard-hitting posts on social media best practices, you can find them on my C3 Blog here. This space is for me to examine digital through my eyes and to view the world through the sociological side of social media that we are all living through.
Finally slowed down enough today to realize what is hampering me from posting. This is going to sound incredibly silly to readers out there, because one would think that I would know better but…… my biggest impediment has been that I have not been accessing my blog remotely.
Perhaps it’s the writer in me that compromises the paper and ink exercise for a seat before the glowing pc screen on a dusky early morning and makes the experience her own Walden Pond. I have created writing rituals which have left me bereft of speedy content uploads. I have realized that it’s time to put away the sentimental notion of connecting with my words in a given process and move on with the rest of my digital life by uploading from my mobile phone or creating posts on my laptop while on the road.
Sometimes you have to slow down to capture the simplest of ideas……
I leave you with this inspiring quote from poet and writing mentor, Joe Zarantonello:
“As Einstein liked to say, “God doesn’t play dice.” This isn’t some random crapshoot–this is your life. If you’ve forgotten what you are supposed to be doing here, no time like the present to remember! And if you haven’t discovered your purpose yet, keep looking. Don’t give up on the one thing that really matters!”
Guess that message applies to me. So let’s raise a toast to increased written productivity!
I still get an eerie feeling when people that I don’t know approach me as if they know everything about me. I realize that by now, this shouldn’t freak me out. I have a pretty extensive on-line presence and intellectually I “get” that this comes with the territory, but the über-private side of me still gets spooked. Did you choke on the term über-private? Thought so. Yes this is a complete contradiction, a dichotomy of sorts for a ticket carrying passenger on the social media highway to even whisper the word p-r-i-v-a-c-y. But I like to draw a line between my business persona and my private life persona. I could be limiting myself and preventing others from having a richer experience of what I bring to the table, but I feel strongly for a variety of reasons to have that invisible line traced sharply in the sand.
I talked to someone at an event recently who gave me the “I know everything about you” look. I approached the person asking if we had met before, as they looked vaguely familiar. Turns out we had both attended the same meeting the previous week and had just happened to walk by each other extending casual ‘hellos’. Somehow the person knew who I was and where I lived as they recounted my possible mayorships on foursquare.
I even get surprised when people tell me that they have liked a particular article or blog post that I have written. Writing is a solitary endeavor: it’s me and my pen or keyboard or tiny little keys on the Qwerty of my Droid Original. I am alone with the sounds of the night cloaking me in near darkness or the morning sounds of commuting cars, chirping birds and buzzing cicadas. My words are birthed from the essence that is me and I momentarily forget that once they are launched into cyberspace, they become visible to the world to take in, digest and comment back. Connection occurs through the act of communication, and so if you truly want to know me fully, then let’s create some connections over coffee. Hey that would be a great name for a company, Creating Connections Consulting……
to be back on topic with Social Media in my World-the subject of this Blog. I have been passionate about writing since I could hold a pencil and have been consistently doing it ever since! I was recently selected to be an Examiner.Com writer, which I am totally thrilled about, but there is clearly a difference in writing style for the Examiner. It goes something like this:
Poetry:Novel :: Personal Blog Post:Examiner Article
I love the free flowing ability with poetry to capture my thoughts in quick phrase bytes of words which is a sharp contrast with my novel. The novel does involve bursts of creativity and stream of consciousness because it is fiction at its core, but still I must conduct research so that the details are believable. And so it is with posts I write for the Examiner. They feel more like a research project for school vs. writing for my two personal blogs Michelle Beckham’s Blog and Kaleidoscope Discoveries. Blog writing allows me to tackle similar subjects that are found in Examiner articles, but I can approach them from my personal thoughts and experiences and not from purely 3rd person journalistic research practices. There is certainly a need for both types of writing and I am lucky to have gigs straddling both worlds.
Here are a couple of lines from each page I reside on:
Like falling tides
Have a way of reappearing
Anger waxes and wanes
Like the moonlight in your eyes
And I am left with the distinct
Feeling that all was a dream…..
Dreamscape the Novel
John would take out a pocket knife hidden in his sock drawer and make quick, straight lines into his arm drawing blood. Sometimes if the intense feelings of emotional pain hit him outside of the privacy of his room, he would use the ragged edge of a cut calling card to carve those beloved lines into his skin. Each feeling of physical pain worked its way into erasing the emotional pain that was tearing him apart; leaving behind fading pink scars of his secret actions…..
People live their lives today pressed between the flowing pages of Twitter and the back and forth banter of blogs. They connect with professionals via their profiles on LinkedIn and run them through Google search as a matter of routine background check. Presented with rich content, they sift through the information trying to determine the desired level of connection……
Cincinnati Tweeters will attempt to earn a foursquare Swarm badge by gathering for a Friday Happy Hour Tweet-up event to celebrate foursquare Day on April 16th. The date has significance to the event as April is the 4th month and 4X4 and 4 squared = 16. Seem a little geekish? Welcome to the wonderful world of shiny digital media toys! Earning the group badge is a great way to bring people together for fun and networking.
Monday mornings following a hectic week and equally busy weekend are a hard thing to face. This is my time to reflect and to share my thoughts in a myriad of places. My morning ritual consists of checking all of my “conversational” sites: email, Facebook and Twitter. I write in a daily gratitude journal which holds lists of things I am incredibly grateful for and also serves as a journal of sorts detailing the flowing events of my life. I am incredibly blessed and I strive to recognize these blessings and call them out. Raising self-awareness helps me to keep myself in check.
This particular morning I’m haunted by the words and music from the Hope For Haiti Album that I purchased from iTunes on Saturday (all proceeds go to help Haiti). I watched most of the special on t.v. last week and was incredibly touched by the power of the stories and the passionate music that emanated from the audience-less stage. I’m sure a lot of people are wondering how such a horrible thing could happen to a country that has seen so many hard times over the centuries. I am heartened to see the varous organizations across the world come together to help, but sadness for the Haitian people still fills my senses.
I have always told my children that they are extremely blessed to have been born into their particular circumstances. They are bright kids with loads of leadership potential and the skill mix to set the world on fire one day. My message has always been for them to take their gifts and talents and make a difference for those who have been born into different circumstances or who do not have a voice in the world. As one of the 13 yr old girls in a Confirmation group I led over the weekend said, “God made all of us equal, it is only the circumstances of where we are born that affects the rest of our lives.” Very thought provoking……
“Just call on me brother, when you need a hand. We all need somebody to lean on.”
Lean On Me sung by Kid Rock, Cheryl Crow & Keith Urban on the Hope For Haiti Album
Why is it that at times other than this- (this meaning: scheduled sit-in-front-of-the-computer and erase this white space with enticing, memorable and deliciously flowing words), I can make those words flow like water from melting snow without even pausing to take a breath? Give me a deadline or a scheduled time to have to produce and my mind goes blank. So how do I overcome this classic writer’s block? I usually begin to list topics that I would love to write about and in the process of doing this, somehow some enticing, memorable and delicious writing magically appears. So, here goes (repeat in the sing song chant of “How I spent my summer vacation….”)
Random Thoughts Dancing Thru My Brain…..
Overheard conversation between mothers lamenting the fact that there was not enough H1N1 flu vaccine to go around for children. One woman stated that she had read that prisoners and death row inmates would have access to the vaccine. This started a very heated conversation in which the women felt that this was an abomination, and that this particular part of the population should not have the privilege of receiving the vaccine. In fact one woman stated that they (the prisoners) should “bite each other” and spread the germs. Did I mention that this was overheard on the spectator side for a youth girls’ sports team game??
The beauty of connections and the relationship that time management has with making the right choices.
Using that “something” extra to help navigate through the B.S.
Wondering if this new application is sending us back to Junior High as we publicly share who we like and admire. No issue with sharing this, but the grouping and naming is what reminds me of the whole Jr. High scene: cool kids, nerds, freaks, goody-goodies, etc. Just saying…..
High School Decisions:
This is a tough one, I can only imagine what parents must go through with the whole college decision today. Good news: lots of great HS choices in Cincinnati. Burning question- why does everyone want to know where MY kid is planning on going?????
Hmmn very eclectic group of topics running through my brain. Guess we will just have to see which one moves the proverbial pen to paper. Honestly….my bet is that I will take the easy way out and write some poetry. Carpe Diem!!