At the end of the day when I’m catching up with my family we, like many such families, ask about each other’s days. Occasionally my response will be something along the lines of “Well, I got to write a bunch, so it was a good day.”
While I do content strategy here at Voce/Porter Novelli, managing editorial calendars and making sure tactics are aligning to strategies which are aligning to goals and so on, at heart I’m a writer. That’s how I self-identify. “Writer” is how I see myself and how I carry myself. It’s intrinsically caught up in my heart and my head.
I’m constantly working on a list of thing to write about. That comes from a feeling that the written word is the best way for me to express myself originating…what’s deeper than bone marrow? It comes from my soul. Things I want to weigh in on burn around my brain until I finally let it out. Sometimes I feel the need to write about something but I don’t know what it is I want to say. So I start writing and somewhere around the second paragraph I find my voice, the thesis around which all of my points revolve.
Number of things on my “To Write” list: 5,827.— Chris Thilk (@ChrisThilk) February 8, 2016
Sure, I can effectively communicate thoughts through speaking. But nowhere do I feel more at home than in front of a keyboard. As Ralphie’s Old Man in A Christmas Story worked in profanity, I work in the written word. It’s my true medium. Sometimes it’s just about things I’m a fan of and want to share my enthusiasm for. Sometimes it’s simply to share news I feel is important and have a perspective on. Sometimes it’s an opinion piece and I need to spend 1,200 words explaining why you all just don’t understand what is clearly evident and jeez am I the only one who’s thinking clearly? Sometimes it’s a mix of all three.
What astonished me several years ago was the realization that there was a direct connection between my ability to write and my overall creativity. Somewhere along the line I realized the days that started out with or included a healthy amount of time devoted to writing were the same ones where I better liked the ideas I was coming up with for clients and other programs. It’s as if there’s a part of my brain that opens up when I write and, once open, lets all the other great ideas out.
So when we’re asking what inspires me, what I love doing it’s just this simple: Writing. Without being able to write I feel as if part of me is closed off. That’s what gets me up and gets me going.