random blitherings turn productive

Did you ever sit down to write and find that you have nothing to say?  I'm doing that right now.  I have nothing to say. 

Just yesterday, I had lots to say.  In fact, I had at least 5 topics that spewed out of my brain.  Can I recall them now?  No.  What to do?   Well, this is what works for me.  I sit down and I write anyway.  That's right.  I write.  Whether I have anything to say, whether I am coherent, or whether I know for sure that this isn't in any way similar to what the end result will be.

Sometimes, I write a bit and take a break.  Like now, for instance.  I put a laundry in the washer right after eating lunch.  And there it sits.  This is a perfect time to go hang it up. 

I can even mention that my family is pretty darn energy conscious.  So we hang up nearly all our laundry on a drying rack.  Since it's nice out, I'll put it outside on the clothes line.  But we also have several indoor drying racks, including a large one that will hold nearly two laundry loads… and a nifty device — composed of a clothes hanger, string, and clothespins — that works just great for socks, underwear, and other small items that don’t need to be hung “just so.”

So let me go do that.

Back again. 

I've been noticing that it’s been a good while since I wrote anything on this site.  I had a great summer, working less and marketing even less, and now that my wife and child have headed back to school, it’s time I really got myself in gear.  But getting myself in gear is, as they say, “easier said than done.”  At least that is what has become obvious to me.  Perhaps it’s true for you, as well.  I feel a bit like an old tree stump: rooted, but with nothing growing… except some fungi.  (You’ve heard the story about the mushroom that goes into a bar, right?  Well, this is the same thing.)  So I need to find ways that will allow me to engage once more with my work, my audience, and my passion for coaching.

It’s pretty dramatic to say that there are as many ways to connect with one’s work, audience, or passion as there are people out there.  So I won’t.  I couldn’t prove it, anyway, right? But it’s the idea that matters here. What works for me, might work for you… but there’s no knowing it until you try.

And, of course, there’s another caveat (Isn’t there always another caveat?).  What opens the door on my creativity or passion today might not be the key to the door tomorrow.  So your curiosity matters here.  And your patience.  And your gentleness.  Gentleness with yourself, I’m talking about here.  Believe me, there’s nothing more counterproductive than beating yourself into creativeness.  Or don’t believe me.  It’s just something I’m spewing out, anyway.

OK, I’m going to tell the truth now.  I didn’t go hang up the laundry.  I meant to when I wrote it.  But then I had this thought that I figured I’d forget if I didn’t quickly write it down.  So I did… and the rest is history.  Anyway, now I’m going to go and hang up my laundry.  Hopefully, when I get back up here I’ll still be in the mood. 

Another Take-Away: Don’t mess with the energy.  Or: Go with the flow.  Or something else.  What would you call it?

OK. Now I’m really going.  Note to self: remember to save this before leaving the computer.  Done.

Laundry’s up.

So what’s the point here?  Well, there are several points, actually.
One point is that when you’re stuck, you need to find your way toward action in whatever ways you can.

When you create from where you are, rather than from where you want to be, you will probably be more successful in moving off the dime.

Another point: Showing yourself, oddities and warts, can be freeing, and can allow others to connect with you and your work.  Yes, this is also true in many places in academe.  Unfortunately, it is also not true in many places in academe.

Not surprisingly, this is much like the way it is in the “real” world, too.  In some places in your life you have much more freedom to show yourself than in others.  Those other ones can be brutal environments to be in.  Perhaps you make a lot of money, perhaps you don’t, but either way, you just know that if you show yourself, sometimes even just a small part of yourself, you’re walking in dangerous territory.

I’m going to stop here.  If this jives with something you know to be true — and you’re in the mood – send me an email or login and make a comment.  If you want some help to deal with it and are interested to know whether I can be of help, let’s talk.

-Steve Reiter
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