What makes you stop?

My Social Media Marketing class this past semester gave me the opportunity to seek out stories I might not usually get the chance to see. I’ve been learning to listen and seeking to understand the perspectives of immigrants — it’s been a memorable and beautiful experience. Here’s where it started:

Please Say More.

When you’re scrolling through your Facebook and Instagram feeds, or deciding what to watch next on Netflix, what makes you stop? What kind of story gets you to halt, to invest your time and energy, to feel alongside the people involved in the tale?

For me, I tend to be curious about families, about times when people speak up, about complex choices and people who face their struggles with dignity and courage. But there’s a common thread in the stories I stop for: they’re familiar.

I have a comfort zone, and I tend to read about real people that I have a lot in common with, which reinforces my own narrow experience of what life looks like. And this is a problem.

So many people have stories of courage and triumph and pain that take place across lands I’ve never visited, within cultures I’ve never experienced, but my habits don’t…

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Unpublished Drafts of Life

How many drafts do you have waiting?

Personally, I think I’m misusing the drafts folder.

At the moment, there are over 27 blog posts in various stages of completion sitting in my WordPress drafts folder. Some of them are wisps of thoughts that I intend to develop. Some are a little more lengthy, fictional pieces I mean to revise or finish: everything from flash fiction, to the beginnings of a short story, to scraps of worldbuilding for a longer piece.

Others are just titles to remind me of a series I’d like to begin: maybe a set of posts on films to see, places to go, books to read, or the reverse, a philosophical post wondering who would care to read such recommendations in the first place. Maybe some interactive writing prompts, or perhaps a progressive log telling the story of the major project I’ve got in the works.

Maybe something more personal, something about how I hold on when I want to let go, or about the times when I don’t hold on so well. Something incorporating what I feel I’ve learned, or honestly expressing my confusion.

There are a lot of drafts in that folder.

I think it’s helpful to jot down passing thoughts you’d like to explore later, or even to express, in some small way, something you might never have time to return to. But it’s also good to develop things.

Sometimes, I take a similar approach with life. I start making plans for a course of action I could take: a language I could learn, a more structured workout regime, an entire career path spinning vaguely in my mind. And occasionally, it’s fun to think through a course of action I’d never actually take. But for the real stuff…I need to find a way to stop leaving things in the drafts folder.

Because the papers pile up. Unpublished drafts of life enable an illusion of robust readiness, when in reality they can become an excuse for a life unlived.

Even as I admittedly procrastinate action by writing this post, I’d like to dust off those drafts, to stop drawing maps of potential journeys and truly start down a path.

How many drafts do you have waiting in your life?

(Photo by Nikolai Ulltang)