The Power of our Words and Defining Them

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I’ve been contemplating the importance of vocabulary and word usage for some time now.  It seems that many of the difficulties so many of us struggle with when learning something new or in understanding what others do is that we aren’t clear on the meaning of the words being used. 

Attend a writer’s conference for the first time, you’ll hear abbreviations and words bandied about like platform. If you haven’t been trying to publish yet, you probably have no idea what a platform is.

Speak to a designer about setting up a website and you’ll hear about SEO, pixels and widgets – oh MY!

If you launch into a discussion on social media growth, you’ll likely hear about pods, loops and groups. Add in marketing and advertising and you’ll just want to shut down and hide.

The reality is that unless you think like a teacher and consistently be intentional to explain your terminology, something will be lost in translation.  As creatives, we can forget sometimes that people don’t think like we do and don’t know what we are thinking.  Taking the time to explain the words we use are vital and being clear with others is the only way we can play our part to encourage those who aren’t as far on the journey as we are is to be sure we are explaining the process along the way.

Let’s be sure to use our words carefully not just because we should be cautious about our choices but also because we can’t help others learn and grow if we are not aware of the impact of a lack of explanation. I don’t know about you but it’s tempting to give up and feel like you’ll never understand when you are overwhelmed with information.

Operational Brain tasks vs. Creative Brain tasks

No, this is not the correct vocabulary I’m sure. So you’ve already guessed this won’t be a scientific type discussion.  You’ve probably heard it described more as a Left Brain vs. Right Brain activity right?  Let me see if I can explain myself!  I’ve had two conversations this week regarding the reality though, so I’m going to hope you know what I mean.

By operational brain, I am referring to the task oriented work we do by checking items off of a list, making and using tech options as reminders of our “to-do’s” and working systems in such a way that projects, assignments or businesses make progress ultimately being completed. 

By creative brain, I am referring to the very opposite process of creation.  Allowing time to be an open ended continuum to be able to create art, music, books etc. requires continual immersion in ideas and creative space. 

For a long portion of my life, I engaged my creative side but used it very operationally.  I didn’t allow a lot of time to create, and out of necessity worked very operationally.  First working operationally is quite easy.  Tasks need to be done and you do them.  Generally, you get paid for work you do especially when you accomplish it.  A few years ago, I realized my creative spark was being hindered by the very operational life I had constructed. 

Thankfully, I had a reached a time in my life and we as a family were in a position financially where I could find some wiggle room.  This wiggle room allowed me create again.  Where it was musically oriented before, I know allowed the stories in my brain to come out and began going down a road of writing.

It has been a delightful journey, but a tough one frankly.  I have always believed that if you work hard and produce good work, you will find success.  This is not necessarily the case in the publishing world.  But I am learning, and I am training myself to improve. What’s funny to me though is that the deeper I immerse in what I believed to be a fully creative opportunity – I come full circle back around to the necessity of digging into the operational side again.  Building a platform, connecting with people and networking, creating the sales pitches and proposals all require a certain level of operational brain.  If I’m not careful I can find myself swing so easily back into operational mode again.  Again, tasks get completed, checklists get checked and “to-do’s” get crossed off.  Short term satisfaction though because ultimately I LOVE and CRAVE creative brain.  It’s what I enjoy even if currently I’m still trying to figure out how to earn from it.  I’m working through it and I’m learning I MUST protect my creative time, by compartmentalizing my operational duties into certain time frames, even though my tendency is to deal with things as they occur.  Creative time has to be precious and protected and utilized everyday even if the creative lightning bolt doesn’t strike.  Showing up and working the creative muscle is half the battle, the other is not providing an excuse for avoiding the creative work.

How about you – do you get what I’m saying about operational brain vs. creative brain?  If so, let me know how you work through it!