An Introverted Perspective

For much of my young life I was quiet; hearing all but saying very little. I wasn’t loud or boisterous and hated being the centre of attention. Instead, I was softly-spoken, and would prefer to take myself off to a quiet corner to read.

Whether academically or socially, I struggled in large groups. I was a bit of a sponge and could soak up what everyone else was contributing, but felt uneasy giving my two penny’s worth.

When I left school for college I really came out of my shell. I wasn’t much louder but I began to be able to express my opinion. In part, and certainly with the benefit of hindsight, I realise that this had a lot to do with becoming acquainted with a much larger group of friends than I had been used to at school. Becoming ‘myself’ outside of college really helped my education; I had undervalued how much my own opinion could shape my learning and help me to understand and improve.

I’ve been working full-time for a number of years now and I’ve felt myself change. I’ve progressed and attained more than I could have imagined since I left school, but in some ways I’ve also regressed. It was only when I first started this blog that I realised how limited my vocabulary had become as result of my legal training. And I lamented that loss. I had excelled in English at school, both in literature and language, and was ashamed at how narrow my vocabulary had become in only a few short years.

I started this blog for a couple of reasons. Firstly, to have a forum in which to air my thoughts so that they are not all jumbled up in my head. Though, in truth, I am still struggling to commit to ‘paper’ what it is that I really want to say. I’m hoping that with each post I will be able to express myself further. And that leads me to my second reason; to improve on my writing skills and explore the wonderful world that is the English language.

A by-product of this blog has been a rediscovery of my love of reading. I’d lost so many years to just reading legal textbooks that in the limited down time I had I needed something light to occupy myself with, and beginning a long, complex story with heightened emotions felt draining at that time. With each novel I complete I not only feel my mind expanding, but I feel happier for it.

I will always have a love of the English language and I hope that this blog will help me to build on my communication skills.

Now that my opinion is out it is hard to reign it back in sometimes and I’m learning a whole new skill now: tact! But I guess I wouldn’t be a good litigator without a bit of a bite!

Old fashioned pen & paper

I’m learning how to write again. Not just how to write, but falling in love with putting pen to paper and letting my thoughts tumble out of my pen nib not knowing what is coming next. I’ve written my few blog posts to date whilst commuting on the train. Its not always easy. In the morning I’m too tired and prefer to read my kindle or just doze. Or just to focus on the day ahead. On the odd occasion where I have been thinking about blog-related things I arrive at work a bit disorientated and it takes a while for me to start the day.

On the way home its different. If I don’t go to the gym then my early train is quite empty so I can get a couple of seats to myself, get comfy and start writing. I’m a blue biro person; black is too harsh on the page and ink just smudges when your writing is as big and loopy as mine. I often feel like a toddler, my pen wobbling all over the place. That’s not because of the train, but rather because my working life is centred around a computer so holding a pen is quite rare.

I loved writing when I was at school. English language was my favourite class. I love literature too, but rather becaused there’s nothing quite like getting engrossed in a good story, not because I enjoy analysing characters and finding hidden meanings in the text. That takes the fun out of the novel for me.

There is so much to the English language. So many words. So many ways of saying just one thing. So many ways you can be miss-interpreted.

My job in law involves a lot of writing (typing!), but its not the same. Its not writing. Its concise. To the point. Black & white. Informal but not casual. Its quite a conditioned way of communicating – after 7 years of study thats perhaps not surprising. Institutionalised even. My thoughts obviously can’t just free-flow in that environment (without a caveat or 10 anyway). It’s restrictive. I almost speak like that now.

I’m trying to break out of the habit in my personal life and be a bit more animated. Enthusiastic. Expanding my vocabulary to its pre-law breadth and letting my musings crystalise in ink. Its not easy. I can’t figure out if writing is a state of mind or an art. Maybe its both.

Blogging will be a (I cringe to use this expression, but!) a journey. A re-education. Back to basics and soaking up the environment around me. Keeping in touch with the things that are important in life and enjoying the little moments that often pass us by.

I wrote short stories as a kid and was a complete book-worm. I’m still like that now though sadly theres never as much time to read these days. I’ve always appreciated how hard writing a story is. In fact, as I’ve been reading The Game of Thrones (is he ever going to finish writing the series?) I’ve often wondered how the author put it all together. He must have a timeline for each character, their location in the fictional word and more family trees marked out than you could shake a stick at. I heard somewhere that there are in excess of 4,000 characters! Of course, not all main characters, but just to come up with an identity for each them must be hard enough.

Whislt I would love to write a book myself someday, that day is very firmly far into the future. I need to focus on me, how I communicate and what it is I actually want to say. ‘Finding myself’ through words is the wrong expression – I think I know who I am. I just need to learn how to express myself.

It’s almost akin to reflection. But in more of an evaluating than analysing way, through a medium of choice. When I was younger I thought everything was just as it was and that adults accepted it and got on with their lives. Well, we do. But as you grow up you realise the importance of the smaller things in life. Good old-fashioned values and knowing that you can do something to change how you life your life. I want to capture that.

Writing. Not typing – until I have to type it up to post it anyway!