As a writer, most of my writing time is spent in solitude feverishly typing away. Or at the very least in silent contemplation when I’m stuck in a rut.
Either way, it stands to reason my best writing times would be when the world’s asleep. When my words can flow unhindered like a gentle stream, nourishing my pages with thoughtful ruminations befitting the quiet hours of dusk or dawn.
Throw in the fact I’m an introvert and presto! I’m in the best place to cough up my next inspiring piece.
Or at least that’s the plan.
Introvert or not, I crave connections
The truth is just because I’m an introvert doesn’t mean I am most creative when I’m all alone in the dead of night or the crack of dawn. For on most days, I too need and crave human connections. In fact, when I make those connections, they often fuel my creativity which is then channeled into my blog posts.
So to that end, I’m making this my catch-up month. The month I resume meet-ups, having just ended a rather busy five to six months of short-term teaching contracts.
Not that I had no human connections during these past six months. In fact I had a productive week in June chatting with several friends, which I recounted in a post then.
But this month, I finally have more time to connect with people unrelated to anything I do by way of earning a living. These could be people I got to know either in the past, like when I was teaching full-time, or more likely the friends I made since becoming a stay home dad in 2018.
And having these connections and conversations mean I may well have insights to pack into my next several pieces of writings here!
Conversations that fuel insights and creativity
Now if what I’ve learned so far in my parenting journey is to be believed, creative conversations aren’t happenstance. You have to be pretty intentional and deliberate about them! From the planning to the scheduling to the execution and post-evaluation. All the while making it seem almost organic and non-premeditated!
As applied to parenting, it’s about daily finding opportunities with kids to instil values or suss out what’s trending in their lives. All the better to stay in the know and head-off any misguided societal narrative threatening to adversely influence young impressionable minds or ‘teach’ kids in place of absentee parents (yes you busy career-minded mom and pop, I’m looking at ya!).
Now what do I mean by these ‘creative conversations’?
To me, a creative conversation isn’t a tete-a-tete with the latest office gossip. Nor is it an evening spent chatting with members of the artistic community. Nothing wrong with either of course. They help pass the time and can bring with them much food for thought.
However, creative conversations for me goes far beyond. They are literally talking points that deepen reflections, fuel creativity, and unpack hidden gems of information and truth that often prove to have universal themes like love, remorse, grief, vengeance, humour and much more.
And as writers, these we definitely have “permission” to repurpose and share. So long as our writings reveal no identities, and we aggregate.
Aggregate for more impactful writing
Now by way of a caveat, let me assure any friends of mine reading this jitterily that your ‘secret’ is safe with me.
Other than guests who agreed to put their byline to their posts on my blog, I’ve never explicitly mentioned anyone who I did not ask permission to use their stories. Like my blast-from-the-past-friend blog in April. Or the aforementioned June conversations with several gentlemen. Or a post about my ‘telescopic’ friend M in July. None of these I sought any permission from because I’ve never openly identified who they were.
Yet in each of their stories I see common threads of humanity that come shining through once I use their tale to illustrate something more universal.
That in a nutshell is how to aggregate for more impactful writing.
Simply put, to aggregate in writing is the act of stacking bits and pieces of observable life the way you would when playing Jenga or assembling a piece of Ikea furniture or Lego play set. As you stack, you’re building. Amalgamating. Formulating. Creating something from the seemingly ordinary or even nothing.
And sometimes you really don’t know what you might end up with.
Like this post for instance.
I started off wanting to talk about how an introvert like me writes. But as I wrap up now and look back, I realise it’s morphed into a piece on how we assemble various seemingly-disparate parts of conversations and connections we made with others into something that speaks to a universal theme.
In the case of this post, that would be the universal theme of the writers’ journey.
Not every conversation has to be an Indiana Jones-type excavation of course. But as a writer is ultimately an observer of life, we must watch and listen attentively, in order to aggregate effectively.
And in doing so, we will more likely than not be able to write intentionally on a universal theme. One that echoes what others may feel but lack the words to express.