I have an enemy.
I know his name.
I know where he lives.
I use the male gender pronouns, because I am a male. And my enemy is mostly found in my work.
Like many things manly, my enemy goes by many different names:
(That almost looks like a poem – a free verse poem. The title might be Not Getting the Work Done.)
The primary name that I call my enemy is Disorganization.
He usually brings his cousin along for the ride… Distraction.
Some people seem to thrive on disorganization. I have had students who could take a perfectly organized desk or locker and in less than an hour reassemble it into Chaos.
My experiences with Disorganization and Distraction follow a predictable pattern.
Assignment papers are missing, late, incomplete, messy, carelessly worked, found in unexplainable places. Even for students who participate in class with apparent understanding, Disorganization causes them to present work that is mediocre at best.
The Teacher in me rejects Disorganization as an acceptable work style.
In my work now, Writer / Author, I am blessed by the sudden flash of a memory of a previous idea in my brain. Too often that is followed by a disappointing physical search for the notes that document and explain and elaborate on the idea. After the search, which occupies my time and attention, I realize that my thoughts are incomplete, and the inspiration evaporates.
I recently found my brain reluctant to sleep, even though the lights were out and my wife was already dreaming. In that transient world of close-to-sleep-but-still-awake I had the idea for writing a book focused on 5 Cs.
Reluctant to turn on the light and search for paper and pencil to document my brilliance, I lay there and rehearsed the five jewels of thought until I was sure I could never lose them.
I awoke a short time later. My consciousness searched for those 5 gems. Four of them presented themselves to my memory, but the fifth one was absent.
What does this have to do with my enemy? A year ago when I began this venture into writing, I placed paper and pencil, and even a flashlight, on my nightstand. I was ready for night-time inspiration.
I don’t know what happened to those writing tools. I know where they aren’t. My nightstand.
My enemy hid them from me.
Illness often invites Disorganization into the home and life. That’s what happened in my case.
I have discovered Disorganization to be an overwhelming enemy. Clutter piles up. Papers, receipts, notices, discharge documents… They soon cover all flat surfaces. Disorganization rears its ugly head.
Writers often have this enemy: Disorganization.
We get ideas at all times of the day and in the most inconvenient places.
We write notes on napkins in restaurants and fast-food places.
We try to put them on our phones, but the keys are so small the message is often unintelligible.
We use the voice record feature, then can’t find where on the phone the audio is stored, or how to get it downloaded, or how to transfer it to text.
I’m going to learn how to use the selfie-video capabilities of my phone so I can start that app without looking at my phone or fumbling with the touch screen.
While driving is the worst time to have an epiphany. Distracted driving. Oh, my!
I remember a Columbo episode in which he had been gifted a small, battery-powered tape recorder. He tried to use it to take notes as he worked to solve the murder. It was funny for me because he made it seem so inconvenient to retrieve the notes when he needed them.
I guess I’m old-school like Columbo. I like the shuffle-ability of paper notes. But they do add to the clutter. So, I use Composition Books. And I never tear out a page. I fold pages and paperclip pages together after I have used the ideas.
I also use on-line storage for easy access from all of my devices: Google, Amazon, Evernote, OneDrive and OneNote, DropBox, iCloud.
As I read that list of online connectedness, it may be that I am cluttered there, too.
I have hundreds of ideas to turn into blog posts, novels, poetry, instructional directives, on-line courses.
My challenge is usually selecting just one thing to write about. Often life filters through my ideas to distill the surplus and place one drop of inspiration on my worktable to be nurtured into an enjoyable read.
Maybe I am one of those writers who excels at pulling order out of chaos, who can reach into a pile of ideas and extract one, then develop it into a coherent piece of art that is presentable, and sometimes helpful, even inspirational, for a select few readers.
I enjoy the way that I work, under pressure, looking at a deadline, pushing to create, hoping that the finished composition will speak to some readers. Maybe kick start some thoughts. Maybe it’s just what a few readers will need to make it through the day or the week.
Maybe, after reading about my experiences, someone will find the courage to write, to work, to publish. Their enemies will fail to overcome them. Their ideas and words will flow, to join mine in the network of online inspiration and encouragement and wisdom.
Where do we start on this battlefront to defeat and expel the enemy? There is no convenient answer. But, there is no wrong answer, either.
To quote from Macbeth, “Screw your courage to the sticking place” and begin.
Dream on! Write on! Forward! Ever Forward!
PS: We are going to begin with our office.
Is reading about my experiences helpful to you?
Did this story cause you to reflect on your workflow and how it is affecting you?
Did the story inspire you to work harder toward your dreams?
Write to me about your process for completing tasks that have to be done.
Use the Comment box online, or email me : eldon @ eldonroberts.com
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Thank you for reading.