This Thanksgiving, I’m especially grateful I am to all of you—the folks who have subscribed to and read The Listening Post since I began writing it nine weeks ago.
Gratitude carries much deeper meaning when we can express clearly the needs of ours that are met. So as I enter my ninth week of publication, I’d like to take time to tell you exactly why I’m feeling so grateful.
Articles have composed themselves in my head for years, but I rarely wrote them down. And it certainly never occurred to me to commit to a regular writing schedule. Even after it did occur to me, I was scared it would take over my life or I wouldn’t have useful things say or no one would be interested.
I’m so glad I somehow got past all that, because I have found the whole process intensely satisfying! (A big thank you here to my Focusing partners, my partner Duke, and Carl, my web developer, for their support. And to Kaitlyn for her amazing photos.) Equally important, I’ve gotten the feedback that that what I have to share contributes to your well-being.
In short, writing The Listening Post meets all three of the needs I hold most important: growth, meaning, and contribution.
For me, like many people and like most sensitive, creative introverts I know, these needs are paramount. Without growth and learning, we feel restless or dissatisfied. Without a sense of contribution, our actions lack meaning. Without meaning, we feel empty and disconnected.
All kinds of growth and learning
The Listening Post exists because I had a vision of it and kept doing whatever was needed next to make it happen. Simple perhaps, but by no means easy. I was really afraid to put myself out in the public eye, so this “next step” often meant sitting with something in me that was very scared, sensing what it needed to be able to go on.
I call this process the “introspection/action loop.” I went through many rounds of it to get to this point. I found it intensely challenging at times. But the scarier the terrain I managed to pass through, the bigger sense of accomplishment I felt.
Case in point: I’ve had to master a lengthy list of technical skills to compose the e-zine. At first I’d completely freak out when weird tech glitches turned all my text green or made the titles ridiculously huge.
Then my wonderful web developer, Carl, taught me how to cultivate an attitude of amused curiosity when “s— happens.” Thank you, Carl. It’s incredibly satisfying to calmly field something that used to get my blood pressure up.
I’ve also learned a lot about the infrastructure of writing. For example, I created a cool template two weeks ago to track the time I’m spending on all the different aspects of The Listening Post, from tech glitches to title creation to video editing.
I found out I was spending a crazy amount of time editing, so I sat down to figure out why. Turns out this happens when I let myself get hijacked by a part of me that is too worried what others think. This kind of insight is really exciting to me as it is widely applicable: in this case, it helped me write emails way faster.
Meaning and contribution
I love to learn new skills and to create new materials, templates, and systems: it feeds my curious, active brain, which makes me really happy.
But what makes this writing project truly sustainable is the feedback that it contributes to you, my readers. That is deeply meaningful to me. And meaning means sustainability.
And the writing process helps me reframe my own past challenges as meaningful: I see how those challenges pushed me to find the information and gain the insights I share with you here.
I believe that most sensitive, creative introverts have deep needs for meaning, contribution, and growth. Not all activities can meet all three of these core needs…but what a gift it is when one does.
Thank you for helping to make this writing that kind of gift for me.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving… and look out for an exciting announcement next week!