How do you measure growth? For the new parent it’s every little milestone; the first smile, the first giggle, the first word. Every time a new size of diaper is purchased, every well baby checkup symbolizes growth.
The farmer measures growth by the height of his crops. Day after day as he waters and tends to his field
he sees the crop getting taller, fuller, bearing fruit. When the columbine is out in the field harvesting the crop, forming the hay bale, filling the warehouse, to the farmer this symbolizes growth.
Growth is all around us. In the spring the flowers bloom and the green grass starts to emerge, reaching for the warmth of the sun.
There are some things that have obvious, quantifiable growth; bank accounts, waist lines, test scores and hair length. The more difficult measurement is that which cannot be measured with a ruler or a scale. In his blog post of January 2013, Russ Roberts discusses growth and the standard of living. He writes about how early innovations are seen as having more growth impact than recent ones due to the impact they had upon us. You can read his blog post here: Measuring Growth; Russ Roberts
Back to the original question; how do you measure growth? Especially that which cannot be measured. Lately I’ve been tasked to think about my growth within the context of my writing. There are some obvious answers. I’m actually writing on a weekly basis which is 100% more than I was writing 5 weeks ago. I admit that I am that writer that needs a deadline. I would like to say that I’m disciplined. That I have a schedule and I write 5 pages a day. I would like to say that I have a plan in place for the books that I am writing. That I write on schedule and produce chapter after chapter. That’s what I would like to say. Were I to say that, I’d be lying.
Lately I’ve been writing on a weekly basis. I’ve been doing this because I’m taking a class that requires for me to write on a regular basis. I am required to produce written work within a deadline. To be perfectly honest with you, my reader, I am a lazy writer. I can sit down and write my little heart out and produce lengthy pieces in a short amount of time. As this semester has progressed I have been tasked with producing more in-depth pieces that require more thought, more substance. The work required is full and substantive. In other words, I can’t just phone it in. I really have to give a great amount of thought to the work. I have to produce something with meat.
I can tell that I am growing as a writer. I’m giving much more thought to what I’m writing. I’m writing as though there really will be someone reading what I’m writing. I don’t know if anyone is reading my posts. Writing is like giving a speech without an audience. As a public speaker, when I’m delivering a speech, I have the advantage of instant feedback. I can tell by the way the audience is responding whether or not my message is being received. I can respond to the feedback instantly; speed up, slow down, add humor, ask a question, none of which can I do when I’m writing a message. How do I know that, or if, my message is being received? Without any type of feedback, I cannot.
In some ways, writing a blog feels very narcissistic. Here I am writing to hear myself talk, so to speak. I hope that I’m writing for an audience, but it’s an invisible audience. So the growth continues. I’m writing more often; I’m making a deadline. I’m writing to deliver my message. I’m writing pieces that have substance. But the most important part of all of this? I’m writing.