Writing can be a lonely task. You do it by yourself, because you have to think.
Speaking is anything but lonely. But it’s short-lived. You stand in front of a group and interact with them for 8 hours, but they leave at the end and you’re alone again.
I make my living doing both.
It’s not a bad gig for an introvert.
I love the speaking days – especially the chance to connect with people one-on-one during breaks. But constant interaction can be draining, and I’m usually pretty drained by the end of the day. I recharge on my drive home – alone.
On writing days, I love the chance to think and process ideas. I often don’t know what I think about something until I write about it. My ideas take shape during the writing process. (That’s happening as I write this; I don’t know how it’s going to end yet. I almost always get a surprise ending!)
But I’ve also learned that I need human interaction on writing days. If I don’t have it, I can get stuck in my own thoughts or get too introspective.
Going out for coffee with a friend is probably my favorite thing to do.
And maybe the most important.
When I have coffee with a friend, it’s a chance to get outside my head. I get to explore their life and their thoughts and their passion and their ideas. I always learn things I didn’t know before, and get to feel like we’re sharing life together.
When I come home and start writing again, all my thoughts are different. Interacting with a friend hits a “reset” button in my brain, even though we weren’t talking about the subject I’m writing about.
We were made to do life with other people.
We communicate through email, social media and even phone calls, and it can be a great way to connect. But something different happens when we’re face-to-face, relaxing over a cup or a meal: We have what Dr. Edward Hallowell calls a “human moment.”
Human moments refresh us. They restore us. They remind us that we’re . . . well, human.
If you’re one of the people I have coffee or a meal with, you need to know how much it means to me. Doing life with you gives me the ability to write and speak. It keeps me from being alone and introspective.
It also gives me a different perspective on blogging.
Most of the blogs I’ve read are people sharing their ideas with other people. That’s not a bad thing, but it can feel one-sided. The blogs that seem to have the biggest impact are the ones that feel like you’re having coffee with them – virtually.
Those blogs don’t seem to be about teaching; they’re about connecting. It’s about the writer laying a few thoughts on the table, and readers responding with their thoughts. It’s a true conversation, not a monologue. It’s real, and it’s vulnerable.
It’s about mutual curiosity.
It has the scent of a human moment.
Connecting through a blog doesn’t replace human moments. It’s a way for thousands of people to feel like they’re actually having an intimate conversation at Starbucks.
That’s what “comments” are for. It’s not something to stroke a writer’s ego because they get lots of comments. It’s a chance to do what we would do across from each other at a table: notice each other, hear each other, respond to each other.
It reminds us that we’re not alone. There are other people working their way through life, and we get to encourage each other on the journey.
I can’t have coffee with all of my readers. But I’m grateful we have a chance to connect in this way.
Go find a real person to have coffee with today.
They need a human moment – and so do you.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, and so would your fellow readers . . . comment below.