14 February 2010

On Not Knowing What I am Doing

Okay, ten minutes...go!

I gave myself a little push, said "Take ten minutes and just write something, then stop!" I have avoided those types of exercises in the past, because I hated the idea of having to stop on an artificial deadline. Then I thought "Yeah, but isn't all of life on some kind of deadline?"

Totally derailed my train of thought. No, not derailed, wrong word, let us say redirected onto a different track. I avoided this stuff in the past because it seems to me in the past so much of the angst I feel about getting things done is predicated on deadlines, because I have always been a firm believer in the "work on it until it is finished" approach, not the "work on it until the timer says to stop working on it".

I once worked with a gentleman who often joked that "There's never time to do it right, but there is always time to do it over!". At which point everyone laughs heartily and says stuff like "Good one!" or "What a kidder!" The real problem was that he believed it, and acted accordingly. The slapdash approach to doing anything drives me nuts, and that was a particularly bad example. Wait, it is a good example of what is a bad example. It always frustrated me that if we just took the time to do it right the first time, which may take a little bit longer than rushing through something, we wouldn't have to waste time doing something over, and thereby wasting more time and resources.

It still gets on my nerves. I have struggled mightily with this problem, in the workaday world. Everything is linked to efficiency, which is tied to productvity which (you saw this coming) is linked to money.

Yeah, okay, we all want to make money. This is an unavoidable fact of immersion in a money economy. The catch to that is it ends up being about pursuing the money to keep making money, which repeats ad nauseaum.

Earlier tonight (the night I am writing this) I saw a short video called "The Resolution Will Not Be Televised" by Jay Smooth*. In it, he says "My eighth resolution would be, Spend as much time as possible doing one thing at a time". Hells to the yeah, that's what I'm talkin' about! I would love to do that because it fits in with my natural inclination. It fits in with what makes me focused and comfortable: being able to do one thing at a time, and do it well. Therein lies my greatest calm, my inner peace. Inner peace: a beautiful butterfly which has yet to alight on my soul.

And that, dear readers, is my ten minutes. Fifteen, actually, because I had to fix the links, but still...

*It's on his blog, illdoctrine.com, a 'hip-hop video blog' hosted by the aforementioned Mr. Smooth (grin). I found quite good. A special thanks to the lurvely Anndi at transition, for bringing Jay to my attention. Word, Anndi!


  1. I'm just glad you changed your Post A Comment tag line ;)

  2. I am not a structured writer - if you gave me the 10 minute deadline, I'd be happy to do it, but you'd get 10 minutes worth of drivel. No, my problem is when someone gives me a certain topic, which is why I've participated in the Spin Cycle every week for a year - it's a good exercise for me. A lot of the time, yeah - you get the drivel. But the rest of the time, it's golden.


  3. I do one thing at a time, I do it VERY well, then I move on.
    -Maj. Chas. Emerson Winchester

  4. For only really having ten minutes, you made some great points.

    I can write forever so long as I'm passionate about what I'm writing. When I have write something absolutely mundane like a manual. I'd rather be shot.

  5. Did MAW just quote Winchester from MASH? I love her. If you gave me a 10 minute deadline to write something I'd probably sit here for 9 and half minutes before I though of something.

  6. I love doing one thing at a time. I get more done that way, and rarely do I have to do it over. If I have to do it over, it's because I was doing something else while trying to do that one thing.

  7. Our unofficial motto at one company I worked for was:

    On time. No defects. You pick.


  8. So funny..I was thinking of that quote from MASH and then I saw MAW come through with it! Awesome

    As I was reading your post I was trying to get the knot out my daughters tennis shoe and waiting for water to boil.

    Peace ~ Rene

  9. Weirdly, my brain only really works properly when it's forced to come up with something. You give it all the time in the world to work on something and it just sits there going "eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee". That's just me, mind.

  10. Lurvely? *blush and smooch*

    I hate deadlines. Perfectionists always do. Plus, if it's not fully cooked, you'll get food poisoning! ;)

  11. That's 10 minutes well spent... :-)

  12. My training tells me to research what I write. Writing for blogs is so different. I just have to look within with little research being done. Very different from the scientific writing that I do.


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...