Human connection


I recently served as a judge for the Kentucky Press Association’s writing contest. It was enjoyable reading the work of my peers in another state–enjoyable and thought provoking and a little motivational really. Then came the hard part–the actual judging and having to rate them in order of my preference. That was tough, just picking the top three and putting them in order.
But all that reading made me think a bit more about my own writing and what I like to write about most for the newspaper. Certainly it’s kind of a rush to be on the cutting edge of the news and to share that with readers. Discovering something that’s been covered up and bringing it out into the light for the public to digest brings a certain satisfaction. Digging into a story and doing a little detective work to find the heart of the story can be fun.
But after a little soul searching, I realized my favorite thing isn’t actually the writing. Sometimes the writing itself can be a burden.
My favorite part is talking to people, one-on-one and really getting to know them and hearing their story. I love asking questions and building a bond with another human being and figuring out what makes them tick–what brings them joy, how they became the person they are now, what they dream of for their future, and all of that really human stuff. It’s about the connection to other people for me.
The writing? Well, sometimes that’s the hardest part of all. How do I distill the time I spent with that person and the connection I made with them into an article or a story of 500 or even 1,000 words. How do I do justice to them and what they’re doing with my writing?
You might be surprised to learn I’m really an introvert. It takes some measure of fortitude and a good cup of coffee to blast me out of my home-office comfort zone and out into the “real world” to report on what’s happening out there. In a crowd, I feel lonely, until I connect with one person and we talk about something that is actually meaningful. Meetings are tedious because I’d rather sit with one person and ask questions to get to the heart of the matter.
Human connection. That’s what it’s really all about for me.
When I break out of my introverted shell, to discover a personal connection to another human being, it feeds my soul.
And isn’t that what the world needs more of these days?

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