I love hearing stories. I love learning new information. I collect facts like I collect bottle caps, only facts are far more fun.
Did you know that cashmere comes from cashmere goats?
Did you know some caterpillars are cannibals?
I can take facts with me anywhere and employ them in conversation. It’s so much fun to talk about the wonders of the world than it is to talk about me.
My default behavior is to search out new streams of input. In. In. In. More. More. More. New stories, new facts, new ideas. Most writers I know experience the same. They love to read, and it’s a good thing too. Reading a lot and often is necessary to write well according to all of the greats.
For a writer though, constantly intaking information can be dangerous. If we’re constantly listening to the voices of others, we sometimes lose our own voice. It can become impossible to differentiate between the ideas of others and ideas that come from within us. We can become so busy listening that we don’t leave ourselves enough time to speak. I have caught myself using my love of listening as an excuse not to talk.
An incredible peak performance keynote speaker and author, DelaTorro McNeal, pointed this out to me. He also gave me a new idea: content fasting. By taking a break from reading other thought leaders, we create space for us to grow firm in our own ideas and beliefs. We find ourselves in a story void and have no choice but to fill it with stories that come from within.
After spending my life obsessed with finding and absorbing the next story, I am putting my full energy into creating my own works. I believe it will be difficult, after all, I truly LOVE stories, but I think it’s a good time for me to give a content fast a try.