|My cat, Benji, helping with the organizing process|
Photo thanks to Amanda McCusker
Leading up to the new year, I've been going through my old box of writings and albums and such with the intention of digitizing the memories and details so I can stop lugging around these boxes of paper. I haven't published or created scrapbooks for years, and yet there is an entire large shelf full of these documents in my living room. They are doing nothing but collecting dust. I figured it is past time to archive them in the 21st century.
I started with my written material today. I published for three consecutive years for my college newspaper. Those articles add up. I also interned at a newspaper in North Carolina one summer and gained a stack of experience in the form of newspaper and magazine articles. I am very proud of these accomplishments, but I need them as a stepping stone, not a paper weight.
I am no longer a journalist. However, as I looked through the articles I wrote during those years, I realized that the ones featuring artists and the creative process were the ones I enjoyed and remembered the most.
I was glad for all of the creative writings I kept as well. I had several years of personal and school projects filled with poetry, short stories and journal entries. It is nice to see that I have continually improved on my writing and my record-keeping skills.
Seeing these pieces all together as I compile them into my computer, I see some patterns forming. I am able to distinguish a particular direction my journey is slowly nudging me towards. I want to complete my novel, with fever and passion. That accounts for the creative half, yet I also greatly enjoy the connection and learning opportunities to meet people and their crafts that journalism provided. I love sharing knowledge about people, art and causes.
My husband has jokingly said I collect causes in reference to my enthusiastic advocacy for pancreatic cancer, mesothelioma cancer, and a few other along the way. I enjoy being with people who really care about something. I have the attention span of a goldfish--I swim around from project to project and topic to topic without often having the tenacity it takes to lock in on one thing. I realize however, I love collecting information and doing research. I want to share my findings with the world, to write and communicate with groups for a common goal.
I'm thinking about how I can take this skill, which my journalist days inspired in me, and make it work for me now. I am publishing a book this year and I want to connect with more artist and create a community of inspiration and encouragement. I'm still trying to figure out what this will look like, but I am excited about the potential of this year and having the capacity to really get some work done.
It's been a day full of looking back over the last ten to fourteen years and I am glad for it. I've had some good insight about where I want to go from here. I've been able to let go of some material that will hopefully lighten my load and help propel me forward into my new ventures.
Have you ever looked back at past projects and experiences to get a better idea of how to move forward?
I sort of stumbled upon this purge of information trying to clean up the space to use it more efficiently, but I am thankful for the lesson. I recommend taking some time to see how you got to where you are and making a path for your future.