Tuesday, October 21, 2014

You're so...DELETE.

Every once in awhile, someone sends me a handwritten card. Out of the blue, my sweet Chloe will send a beautiful, touching, or sometimes silly card but inside are her words, handwritten, which seem ever-so-much-more personal than a text or email or facebook post. A few other friends also do this, and I treasure these little keepsakes. Yes, I love the ability to communicate instantly, but there is something about those cards ... like there is a little piece of the sender's heart in there.

Spurred by my own affinity for receiving them and my constant pursuit to find unique and different ways to encourage and love people, I bought some beautiful note cards and decided to handwrite notes to a few people in the hopes that they would feel as touched as I always do to receive one.

Here's what I didn't bargain for: I have become dependent on delete. When you are handwriting a letter, especially on an expensive note card, you're committed once you put that ink on the paper. Ughh...I tried saying sentences over in my head before writing them. Still, upon re-reading, I felt, "Oh no ... that sounds stupid. Did you misspell that word? Honestly? That looks like an m but it's really an r. Does that make sense? Is this legible? Jeeze, are you illiterate?"

I may have mentioned before that my inner voice is a nasty shrew.

I am by nature an editor, not a writer. I'm way more comfortable fiddling around with words that are already on the page than actually putting them there. I really like to edit and proofread. It makes me giddy to make writing sound clearer and more concise. It's like polishing silver. I like that as well. I'm an odd duck.

Anyway, when I do write, it's usually a lot of nonsense--kind of like having a conversation with me. If we have spoken in person, you may have considered me snobby or not very bright or even pondered if English was my native language. True. I promise I'm not snobby; I'm not a mensa member either, and I'm certainly not bilingual. I'm way more comfortable listening than talking. And since my tongue is usually tied, I'm going to spend the rest of my day--or week, depending on how significant the perceived flub--analyzing what I said and how stupid it sounded and perhaps if it was even offensive. Oh no, I hope not, but maybe?

My head is a dark and exhausting place to reside sometimes.

Anyway, my saving grace with typing is edit, delete, cut, paste, read, reread, does this make sense, reword that; it's already not all ready already. I usually spend twice as much time editing as I do writing, and even then sometimes something will slip through the cracks, and my brother will put me on blast.

So, handwriting is like jumping without a safety net. I've become so dependent on all Word's great tools to optimize my writing and only reveal it at its best that it's a bit unnerving sending anything out unpolished. (I wasn't showing off using its and it's there, but you're welcome if that particular grammatical conundrum has been vexing your mind.) This is also why I'm tiptoeing into the water with great trepidation trusting my raw writing only to people I am pretty confident aren't going to smash my heart with the hammer I've just given them.

All of this brought me back to something my young friend, who happens to be an amazing speaker and championship encourager, said last week at church, "When negative things come into your head, simply say, 'Delete.'" We don't have to own negative self-chatter or criticism from others any more than we need to let an extra letter or a rogue apostrophe go. Just ... Delete it.

Try it. It's more fun than polishing silver. I'll give you an example from my own inner shrew:

"You didn't even make it to the gym today. You're lazy and worthless" Delete
"You should have gotten more accomplished today. You're irresponsible." Delete
"You didn't even manage to do yoga. You're never going to be in better shape." Delete
"You should wash your hair..." DELETE!!! Sometimes, that b#$%h really hits below the belt.

While I have been using the delete button to make writing sound better for a long time, I'm just learning how to use it to make myself feel better about negativity from outside and from within. Now that I know this tool is at my disposal though I plan to wield it like my trusty red pen.

What nonsensical negative chatter do you need to delete?

4 comments:

  1. My inner voice is also a nasty shrew. I have that stuff going on in my head constantly. And I've also had the same problems with handwritten notes. Or speaking on the phone. It's why I prefer to email people -- I can edit, edit, edit.

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  2. It's exhausting; isn't it? I agree with everything you said. Email and text are definitely my preferred methods as well :) Thanks for reading, Mel!

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