Dare to be specific

Photo by Federico Beccari on Unsplash

Isn’t it great when good writing advice overlaps with good overall advice to life?

I’ll take specificity as an example. One thing that makes a piece really great to read is when the writer uses specifics well.

So, instead of writing…

The boy loved going to Grandma’s house.

She writes…

Every time the boy saw that bright red door with the brass lion’s head knocker, he could taste Grandma’s banana cream pie and feel the warmth of her fireplace on his back.

I know, it can be improved, but doesn’t that second sentence take you somewhere? Doesn’t it satisfy a certain yearning in the human soul that wants to experience details of life?

It feels really damn good to be specific. Especially when it comes to what we observe, our opinions, and what we want and don’t want.

Your journal is a fantastic place to practice this... Write the specifics down. All of them. Your likes and dislikes. Your heartfelt and regretted losses and sacrifices. The things you want and don’t want. Why you like the song, Perfect from Ed Sheeran so much and why that’s perfectly normal as an almost 40-year-old straight dad/married dude (?).

It feels incredible to fully and unabashedly express your opinions — as unresearched, quirky, and contradictory as they may seem.

We’re so worried nowadays about social approval. Of how many thumbs and hearts and claps our thoughts might get. Of who they might offend or delight.

I’m as guilty as anyone.

Say it (or at least write it).

Your soul is pointing at things and yelling. Can you hear it? It wants the specifics echoed back to it. It needs you to close the loop by expressing it in the physical world.

Be someone and somewhere again. Breathe into your place in the world. It’s okay.

If you can’t give yourself permission, I’m granting it to you now.

If you were to be specifically you, what would that be like?