Saturday, January 10, 2015

What I'm Thinking

All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning.”

Albert Camus


I’ve delayed enough.  It’s time to write.  With what’s left of my day, all I want to do is read and write.  If I use my time well, I can get a lot done in the next 90 minutes.  That doesn’t mean I need to write fast, but it does mean I need to stay focused if I want to get some work done.  For this blog, I’ll just share what I’m thinking and see what happens.
The first paragraph is just an introductory paragraph and it’s possible that I’ll erase it.  Often when I start writing I have no idea what to write, so I just write what’s in my head.  This is a good practice, not just for writers, but also for anyone who wants to improve their work.  Just Get Started.  Maybe the initial effort is worthless.  Except that it isn’t, because it gets the work started.  This is why there are erasers and “Delete” keys and trashcans.  This is why there are editors and spell-check programs.   Very few things start off perfectly.  But, sadly, fewer things get started at all.  So rather than delay my work, I just jump into it.
At the moment I’m alone and it’s quiet except for the sound of the rain.  No, it’s not raining.  There’s an app on my cell-phone that has wonderful sound effects, such as rain, thunder, wind, crickets, Gregorian chants, and more.  It comforts me by creating an atmosphere of rain outside, while I sit safely ensconced in my place, writing.  I think creating the right atmosphere is important when we do our work.  The sound of thunder, rain, and a classical melody create an atmosphere that calms me and helps me focus.  Atmosphere is very important when we do our work.  Some people like clean, organized work areas.  Some people prefer absolute quiet.
But all of that can just be another way to avoid our work.  We tell ourselves, “I can’t work under these conditions," but when it’s important or pressing, it’s surprising the conditions we can work under.  Atmosphere can be an illusion, like my rain.  It’s not raining.  I live in an area that rarely gets rain.  More important than atmosphere is determination and choice – the choice to do our work no matter what.  
This doesn’t mean I don’t try to set things up the way I like.  I love the atmosphere I have now.  I love my rain sounds and my classical music and the sound of thunder.  They are wonderful.  But, the truth is that they aren’t required.  I’ve worked in less-than-optimum conditions, in cold, through fatigue, hunger, and even sickness.  I’ve worked when I’ve been depressed, angry, unmotivated, or afraid.  Waiting for the perfect conditions, internally or externally, can delay the truly perfect condition of getting our work done.
And that’s the real trick.  The right conditions are often internal, created when we decide to do our work.
Another random thought I’m having is how easily susceptible I am to distractions.  This is a constant battle for me and, I think, for many of us.  Distractions are extremely powerful for me.  For example, when I was writing about external conditions I noticed my bed was unmade.  So in the middle of writing I got up and made it.  Then I decided to put some things away.  That led me to organizing some comic books and as long as I was doing that, I thought, “I might as well look at one.”
Fortunately, I stopped, refilled my coffee cup and go back to work.  I don’t know if I’m extreme in my susceptibility to distractions, or if I’m in the norm.  Perhaps for others distractions might be e-mails, television, phone calls, or that weird noise that you didn’t notice until you sat down to do your work.  Then there are thoughts like these:
·      Is this the best use of my time?
·      Should I work on the bills, the lawn, or the dishes?
·      Am I ignoring the people I love?
·      Maybe I should relax.  I already work hard enough.

This is why goals can be so helpful.  If I’m doing something that aligns with my goals, it can eliminate those questions.  I can say thank you to my concerns and keep working.  Sometimes the indicator of those questions is their timing.  If they come up throughout the day, then I may need to pay attention to them.  If they only come up when I’m in my Purpose, then they are a form of self-sabotage designed to keep me from reaching my goals.

My last random thought is this:  I love seeing what occurs when I sit down and start working.  It feels like magic, or more accurately, a miracle.  Something was created where there was nothing.  This amazes me and inspires me to Get Started and Keep Going…no matter what I’m thinking.