Writing Avoidance and the art of keeping a neat workspace
My desk and office area is getting very much in order. I had to mess up the desk completely after the assault from Lugh, the Irish god of Lightning, caused a power surge that blew out one of my laptops and various peripherals. I spent hours rewiring — standing up and leaning over the electronics, rerouting cables and such to the point where I had as many sore muscles in my hips and thighs as if I had joined a gym.
I cannot recommend crawling over and around monitors, speakers and USB hubs as a method for getting exercise, even for aging baby Boomers such as ourselves. It is mostly annoying and I soon tired of it, deciding if I could just get my system hooked back up and have electricity flowing in all the right places that beyond that I let the jumble be.
Getting this blog started and producing content was my main goal. I had the pages designed and the appropriate graphics chosen. All I had to do then was actually write something to put on those pages. The backlog of the IT work saw me having more content than was getting posted and that, in itself, was somewhat remarkable.
All of that ended after I had a working setup. I have been diligent in writing down blog topic ideas and thinking up, then forgetting, many more. For some of those written down, I could make out only a scrawl that left me wondering what type of powerful cough syrup I must have been drinking when the idea came to me.
I probably need to get a voice note taking app to make quick notes in the car or elsewhere to get those glorious reality changing topics into being. Our first reality solution of the day is that there are many such apps available, mostly free unless you would like to use any of their advanced functions. For iPhone or Android, these suckers are easy enough to find by asking Google so That is probably all we need to say about that.
Before I digress any further down this particular rabbit hole, let me get back to the point of this discussion and reveal the real reason why my desk is getting so much neater all of a sudden. It has little or nothing to do with my OCD tendencies though they didn’t hurt, particularly my attention to detail such as whether or not the aromatherapy diffuser should sit on the corner of the desk or in a place further from the edge to avoid the possibilities of spills or other wet messes. (By the way, the old diffuser also got fried in the attack of Lugh, along with a USB hub all the way across the room. Luckily, I had a backup diffuser. Why I had an extra aromatherapy diffuser on hand isn’t important right now, but it came in handy.)
The real reason for all the cleanup and tweaking lies somewhere else. After getting all the electronics working and posting the already written posts, I was left with one looming, intimidating reality. It now was time to sit down and write more. A more horrible fate is difficult to imagine. It had become time to (choose a clique) “fish or cut bait,” “sink or swim” or “poop or get off the pot.” (I kind of like that last one.)
As I divulged in my inaugural post, I find the actual act of writing to be quite burdensome. What I like is not writing, but “to have written.” (My favorite Oscar Madison quote.) Actually writing requires me to think, form ideas and present them in words that cogently represent those thoughts laid out in a manner that is entertaining. That is not so easy to accomplish.
Since I am looking over a list of nearly 20 blog topic ideas, it is clear that writer’s block is not my problem here. The issue is Writing Avoidance. As I’ve admitted, I will do almost anything to avoid the actual act of putting word to paper – or electrons to the monitor in the modern sense. Before I actually get a piece of writing finished, generally I have written it in my head numerous times, often to my satisfaction. Of course, after those mental projections meet reality, I almost never find the results as golden as when they were running around my head.
I suppose part of this problem is my history of being a newspaper reporter where I was driven by deadlines. I always wanted to get the story as perfect as it could be, but having an editor standing over you yelling, “Hit Send, dammit, we go to press in 10 minutes” brought crystal clear focus to my reality.
Without that editorial Sword of Damocles dangling over my head, I more likely will spend time staring off into space and let thoughts bounce randomly in my brain seeking a way out into the world. Writing is one of the only occupations where sitting still, staring off into space actually is counted as working – the whole “stare at the page until beads of blood form on your brow” deal.
To aid in this process of creative procrastination, I also have collected a number of trinkets and nick-knacks positioned precisely on the desk to draw my attention should merely staring off into space get old. I’ve got a glass pyramid, little crystal ball, widget spinner and various gee-gaws that periodically I decide need to be repositioned or played with.
On one level, placing so many obstacles in my path with shiny diversions to take me away better than Calgon makes actually finishing something all the more satisfying.
Kind of like now.
That, and the fact that I end up with a really neat, trim-looking desk.
I suppose now is the time to start work on another of those ideas on the list.
Oh look, there is that little toy car that flips over and over when you wind it up. I wonder if it still works …