There was a time when I thought calling myself a full-stack anything was clever. Once I got over myself, I realized how flimsy a proposition that was. I don’t know enough about the inner workings of publishing to equate storytelling with software development. I put so much energy yet so little thought into crafting this narrative. I’m no unicorn, rockstar, or ninja. That’s why I had to rebrand.
While I still believe that the “jack-of-all-trades” label got a bad rap, it doesn’t matter. Most job recruiters of all fields of employment don’t have that impression. Although the generalist vs. the specialist argument progresses in many industries like software, the consensus leans towards the latter.
Nevertheless, I will continue my writing career abiding by three critical lessons.
- Repeated, multiple, and diverse experiences lead to richer stories.
- The story and the teller have to be clear, concise, yet captivating.
- The rule of three is . . . ah this joke is so stupid. I have no habit, superstition or compulsion to write things in threes (I don’t think).
Lesson 1: Variety
“Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.” -Rita Mae Brown
I held two jobs in the service. First, as an aircraft mechanic, I learned attention to detail by editing and rewriting several pages of policies and procedures. Then, as an analyst, I understood clarity through preparing intelligence reports. Based on those two widely diverging career fields alone, I could claim to be a full-stack airman. I collaborated with as many people as possible in both areas, both within and outside my field. As these relationships grew, so did my ability to tell stories. And while the military supplied me with time to grow in my comfort zone, academia educated me to expand out of it.
I’ll be honest, up until recently, I thought of an MBA as my “golden ticket” to a six-figure career. It also happened to be the shortest path to the degree I could complete. However, the most meaningful thing to ever happen to me on this path had to do these academic projects. I rediscovered the budding creativity I’ve always had and the artistic flair I wanted to grow during that time. I wrote a sketch comedy script, a short story, and a poem. In all honesty, they were school projects I had to complete. However, I’m glad to have done it and proud of what I made. These professional and academic experiences shaped me to become a full-stack something. But, I needed one more crucial element.
Lesson 2: Audience-centricity (is that a word?)
“The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.” – Peter Drucker
Communication is not only key, but also lock, handle, door, room, and oftentimes the whole house. Although I learned a lot from college and the military, As a lifelong learner, I need more. I have yet to receive formal instruction in media strategy. Therefore, as a full-stack storyteller, one of my goals is to be a communications management professional (CMP). The Global Communication Certification Council (GCCC) issues these certificates on behalf of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC).
In the meantime, one of the best classes I took on Linkedin Learning was Shani Raja’s “Writing With Flair: How to Become an Exceptional Writer.” He touts that the ingredients to the secret sauce of writing are simplicity, clarity, elegance, and evocativeness. The storyteller did their job to easily digest the plot, empathize with the characters, follow the conflict, and enjoy the resolution. Flouting this list will be the only time I will stray away from the rule of three.
Lesson 3: Strategery (oh what, that’s a word?)
“Crisis doesn’t change people; it reveals them.” – Eric Walters, Rule of Three (why do I insist on letting this joke run?)
It’s telling that I chose a quote about “crisis.” Truth be told, I’m in a few at the moment. Not only financially (though that IS priority one), but also ideologically. What keeps me going now is that I have a wife and child to support (thus, finances are my main focus). Needless to say, the writer in me continues to beckon.
I still want to bring back that creative spark to set a fire under me and unleash a blaze of expression. It’s something that I have lit many times but haven’t been able to keep burning. When I wrote, “Once again, a new start,” and “A Re-think of the ‘New Start,‘” my state of mind was, shall we say, messy. For now, it’s less of a mess, but it still needs some work. But, it is also a sign that I have some other things I need to worry about before setting out on this journey.
If I’m going to be a full-stack anything, it will first be as a father, husband, and breadwinner. Perhaps when I have those pillars set straight, I can work on the fourth as a writer.