Growth is one of those ideas that it's pretty easy to get excited about. I mean, it's spring up here in the northern hemisphere. The leaves are all young and fresh, and flowers are being flowers, and the lawn mowers are droning all day.
Spring. Growth. It's a good season, right?
Which is why it sounds like a great topic to blog about in May. Let's talk all things growth, I thought, feeling adventurous and wholesome.
Then I thought: Oh, crap. Would that mean I'd actually have to grow???
(Hands up if you're with me on this.)
I like the idea of growing. Of getting better. I really, really do.
I mean--that's everything I'm about.
But at the same time: I'm so tired. And the word "growth" starts to sound like "one more thing to do."
And while I'm shooting this theme in the foot, why not keep going? Here are the reasons why I'm not interested in growing:
- Face it, I'm pretty comfortable with how things are.
- This works well enough for now. I can make do.
- I'm too distracted, too many things going on.
- What else would I have to change? What would I have to give up or do differently?
- It's a hassle. I'm anti-hassle.
- Growth is messy and untidy and awkward. And I already did adolescence once, so let's not.
- Daredevil is on Netflix.
I know that those are all bad answers. Even the ones that feel/are true.
Because if I'm not growing--not absorbing nutrients, then pushing out in active growth, steadying myself through rest, and then pushing out again--if I'm not up in that whole cycle...
Then I'm probably doing something else. Something Not Good.
Honestly, I doubt that "Become Stagnant" is on anyone's to-do list as a writer. And (unless you're a cavity) "Decay" probably isn't on there either.
So theoretically, at least, we can all agree that growth is a good idea.
So how do we reconcile that with the above list? The hassles, the distraction, the awkwardness?
By aiming ourselves at quiet growth. At the slow continuous stretch. At incremental change.
Not at big, flashy, time-lapse-photography kind of growth. It doesn't have to be a huge disruption; it doesn't have to be all or nothing.
Can we avoid going stagnant, can we avoid getting dull as writers, without burning ourselves out, either?
I'm voting for YES.
Let's look for ways that we can slip subtle, quiet, steady growth into our routines. Ways to make growth a habit, to keep it manageable, to stay nurtured, but to keep stretching nevertheless.
Heck, maybe we'll even grow at growing. Is that a thing? Can I say that?
Because my overarching career goal is: Write a better story than the last one.
And as far as I can tell, that translates to: Always be growing.
So let's stretch a little this May.