“Discipline” and “flexibility” are two words that keep coming to mind this week. With the intense focus that’s required to create digital portfolios, I realize the need to establish a routine and constantly reevaluate my work. It’s a struggle to maintain my momentum and abandon some of my initial thoughts regarding these final projects. However, I know that I’ll become a better writer as a result.
Habit Is as Habit Does
Throughout the professional writing program, countless texts and discussions have mentioned establishing a daily writing habit. It wasn’t until I looked back at all the work I’ve done that I saw how drastically my writing has improved. There’s something to the idiom “practice makes perfect” — as a musician I already knew that, though I have tried to dismiss it at times. I was even reluctant to showcase some of my older work, especially professional documents that I can’t edit further, but I decided to select items that could demonstrate my progression and diversity.
I’ve also realized that this dedication to the discipline of writing is grounded in my overall routine. As the program winds down and ramps up simultaneously, I can feel my momentum waning. I have always been a night owl, but the importance of what I do in the morning was brought to my attention by the PBS Idea Channel. So much of my day depends on how it begins and on the meaning that I associate with these rituals. That’s why I actually decided to become a morning person (with some success) as my graduate journey is coming to a close.
I Am Always Beginning
One of my favorite authors and artists, Justin McRoberts, said the following on his blog recently: “Real maturity is the humble recognition that there is always a next step. Real success is faithfulness to that process. You are always beginning.” I am more convinced than ever that the creative process has the same amount of meaning as the products. Portfolios display tangible documents, but at the same time, they speak to so much more. There is a lot of learning in between the lines. There is a lot of reflection, introspection, and reorganization. There is a lot of audience analysis and fine tuning.
Professional writing demands flexibility in order to evolve. It isn’t passive though: I have to make a definitive commitment to the process. Sometimes stepping away from a task provides new insight on how to complete it well. I have changed my mind often over the past week before the initial portfolio submission for peer review, and the only thing I can count on is that I’ll do it again. In the words of my professor and the head of our department, a writer’s work is never done.
Which habits do you rely on as a professional? How do you see yourself continuing to change? Please let me know!