Last year when I was invited to submit a chapter to a book on women leading in the academy, I initially thought it was interesting to consider because of the need for progressive material in this area.
Additionally it was an interesting invitation, as I had been asked to co-write a chapter with my Michigan State University colleague Kendra Cheruvelil. Kendra and I knew each other casually at the time of the invitation, but were growing in our understanding and appreciation of each other enough to consider what a jointly authored book chapter on professional development could be.
Next spring our chapter “Professional Development of Women Leaders” will be a part of a new book from Cognella Academic Publishing co-edited by Callie Rennison of University of Colorado Denver and Amy Bonomi of Michigan State University.
Kendra and I both learned a lot about ourselves and each other in our personal and collaborative reflection during the process of working on this chapter.
I’m personally eager to learn from and about all of the other women leaders who have contributed to this text. I have no doubt it will offer much needed insight and “food for thought”!
So, I see writing spaces, inspiration, and sometimes lessons, in unexpected places and at unexpected times.
I was inspired after my recent massage to return to a piece
of writing that has been causing me tension. I am aware of some of the sources
of the tension – i.e., I’m writing about a leadership issue that I’m currently
navigating – and there are other unknown sources of tension that I am battling
in my attempts to bring clarity to parts of this work.
Generally, I will try to work on this or other such writing, feel the tension, and then back away or move on to work on another piece. The latter is largely a gift and joy of having multiple writing projects. However, I can’t keep walking away from the tension when there is writing that needs to be completed and shared.
Leaving a recent spa appointment, I felt a breakthrough of sorts in reflecting on the unexpected writing lesson I received there. You see, a massage therapist feels for tension, acknowledges it, and then spends time and effort to work through relieving the tension. It’s a dedicated effort of applying concentrated and repeated pressure over a period of time until the tension (or “knot”) releases. As I was reflecting on the joy of being the beneficiary of the relief that came from actively and strategically working on relieving muscle tension, I realized that I need to establish writing time, practices and strategies for working on “relieving the tension” of some of my writing.
The time, and perhaps space, needed to do this is decidedly different from the writing time at which I excel generally – i.e., generative writing and developmental editing/writing. I embrace these writing forms and times wholeheartedly.
To facilitate staying on track with a number of writing projects to which I have committed, I’ve got to move to establishing successful practices for tackling the “tension-relieving” writing. I suspect that I’ll need to establish multiple brief periods in which I can use an intense, focused period to apply the “pressure” needed to break through a writing tension. It’s possible that pairing this with a generative writing time could be truly beneficial in breakthrough a “knot” and moving forward towards completing a specific goal.
I’m thankful for lessons that come in whatever form and through whatever forum to inspire me to continue to grow and advance as a writer.
As always, if you have thoughts on this or other posts, find me on Twitter at @BerondaM
I love a “retreat” — which for me is generally a treasured (approaching sacred) time with physical and/or mental distance away from the daily grind.
I retreat to rest and rejuvenate. I retreat to reflect. I retreat to plan. I frequently retreat to write. I retreat for self-care.
I have even been known to retreat just to get a brief break from the cold, gray, and snow of winter.
I retreat in solitude and I retreat in groups.
The common denominator of my retreats is that I always retreat to advance.
It’s easy to stay super busy (for me both professionally and personally). And frequently we falsely assume that constant motion or activity is the “key to success” and progress. However, I’ve learned — and re-learned time and time again — that for me retreating is critical to true progress, fulfillment and advancement.
So in all cases I retreat to advance:
To advance in my thinking,
To advance in my work,
To advance in my writing,
To advance in my self-care.
Retreating is critical to my success, fulfillment, grounding….so I retreat to advance!