Is This Thing On?

Mary Scotton
3 min readJan 2, 2023

Me: I’m a connector, a speaker, and a writer.

You: Ah, but Mary, writers WRITE. What have you WRITTEN lately?

Me (sheepishly): Um…nothing?

GIF of Jimmy Fallon pretending to tap on a microphone and saying In This Thing On?

For me, writing requires inspiration. Inspiration requires time to explore: to read, watch, listen, discuss, and connect ideas. In 2022, my time went to ramping up on my new job (shout out to ServiceNow), traveling (my first time to Italy), and making human connections (highlight of the year was meeting the ServiceNow community IRL at Knowledge ’22).

In 2023, I’m carving out time to explore. And write.

I’ve been driving more than usual lately, which has given me a chance to explore through podcasts. (Listening, while also doing something else, seems to be my preferred mode of learning.)

One of the inspirations (or kicks in the butt) for me to start writing again was the #AmWriting podcast, How to Tell Someone Else’s Story: Episode 340 with Allison Gilbert where I learned about Elsie Robinson, “one of the highest paid, most well known journalists in the world, whose voice dominated the Hearst media empire for more than 30 years, who wrote something like 9,000 published articles.”

Elsie’s experience debunked my belief that I had to have the PERFECT setup before I could write. You see, she wrote at night, by candlelight, on a typewriter so old it that didn’t even have a Shift key, after walking 4 miles home from her full day working in a gold mine and then tucking her son into bed. In 1915.

I have this magical cloud internet computer device on my lap. I could write anywhere!

I still like to have a good setup. My current favorite is the desk is in our guest room which gets great light in the morning. Today, I’m slouched on a big squishy chair in our living room. My back is unhappy about it, but it was a nice space to co-work with my wife on this lazy Sunday.

Another podcast that kicked my butt, in a “what am I doing with MY life” way, was Episode 5 of The 2080: Cooking Spicy Entrepreneurship with some STEAM with Ayonnah Tinsley. At 19, Ayonnah Tinsley has already written a book, started a company, earned awards, and is crafting her own arts, technology, and business innovation major at USC. If she can do all that, I can sit down and write for 20 minutes, right? Heck, I did that in middle school!

My 8th grade English teacher had us write in a journal every week. We had to “keep pencil to paper” for 20 minutes. We could write anything (and sometime did: “blah blah why am I writing blah blah hi Miss Coop blah blah blah”). I’m sure they were a blast to read!

GIF of Jimmy Fallon pretending to write and smiling secretively.

Sigh. Yeah, so, the other inspiration is that very same 8th grade teacher, who became a beloved friend, who wrote EVERY Sunday, for 5 years. No matter what. Camping? She wrote on her phone in the tent. Pandemic? She made a point to NOT write about lockdown and instead quoted Bob Dylan, Buffalo Springfield, and Mean Girls in a post dedicated to Breonna Taylor. Chemo? She somehow still found the strength to find Something More to Open and share her thoughts with her Facebook friends.

If she could keep pencil to paper (or fingers to keyboard) every Sunday, through every Thing, I can write a blog post every now and then.

So, for Elsie and Ayonnah and Miss Coop, I’m committing to writing again. I hope you’all enjoy my musings and that they inspire you to explore, too. To connect ideas, create something new, and share your voice. 💃🏻

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Mary Scotton

Technology industry leader, evangelist, and connector who cultivates inclusive communities. She/her. maryscotton.com