Graduation 2014: Life-Long Learning for a Full Life by Margaret A. Nystrom, M.A.T.
Please join me in welcoming back award-winning blogger and educator, Margaret A. Nystrom as she discusses graduation … but it’s not what you might think. Enjoy!
I find it interesting how what is good for us as evolving humans is also good for writers, and other professions.
This is the month of graduations.
College and university graduates have heard inspiring and not so inspiring speakers tell them to go after their dream careers. Many students will do exactly that, some successful, many not. Still many will not crack a serious book again, or continue to learn new things as they settle into work routines and paying bills. Sure getting a job is great and needed to survive in this economy. But, people seem to forget the real goal of college is to learn how to think critically, discover, imagine, create, evolve, and challenge oneself.
Life-long learning is a journey of self-discovery. It doesn’t and shouldn’t stop after we get a diploma or a job. Getting a job or career should be a by-product not the destination of a good quality education. These skills will go with you everywhere. They are not frivolous as many would mock liberal arts degrees. They are part of your practical life experience degree. The real diploma being a well-lived and full life.
How does this cross over to writing?
The life-long journey of thinking, discovering, imagining, creating, evolving, and challenging yourself as a person and a writer, colors and enriches our experiences, and also our writing. Publishing should not be the end goal, or the final goal, but a by-product of a continuously evolving writer. Once someone publishes, they don’t stop being a writer, when they become an author.
A true writer is often thinking about another story or ideas for another work long before their first one is completed. The second one is already beginning to roar in their heads. Some writers even stop writing on their first story to get the second, or even the third or fourth started, because they are in the moment of creation. It’s this journey they are focused on.
So what is to be done?
• Be curious of the world around you and inside you.
• Challenge yourself to think outside, as well as, inside, and around the box and beyond.
• Question everything.
• Push yourself to experience uncomfortable ideas and communities, and what you are comfortable with.
• Learn how to turn your worst experiences, pain, and jobs of drudgery, into powerful experiences of enrichment, accomplishment, and learning.
• Hone your skills and keep them up to date as often as possible.
• Approach your life as the wonderful experiment it is in discovering the world and beyond it’s sphere. Face your fears as a writer and as a human.
• Push the envelope … and the paper, the book, the laptop, the pen, and the pencil.
• Understand the beauty, the joy, and the terror of creating something new and nurturing it.
• Never stop reading.
• Learn the rules of writing and how to use them. Then, break them to make something new.
Learn to love failing as a true opportunity for growth. Then, share your discoveries. And when you leave this life, know you did everything possible to grow as a human, and as one who writes. As William Blake wrote: “To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower. Hold infinity in the palms of your hand and eternity in an hour.”
Whether you are a recent 2014 graduate, or a struggling writer, or author … good luck on your journey.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Margaret A. Nystrom, M.A.T., Q.M.H.P.
Feeling stuck or need help with procrastination or writer’s block? Margaret’s award-winning blog, is a motivational content blog for writers. She is an author, educator, artist, and monthly guest blogger/columnist in N.C. She has taught children and adults for 40 years and created over 25 blogs. She also writes articles and psychological thrillers. Read her new ebook: The Writer’s Control Guide for Procrastination and Writer’s Block: 101 Management Strategies.