, , ,

writing for real

An interesting thing has happened with the writing that I have been dutifully and joyfully doing for my blog. I have reverted to old practices, to earlier ways of doing things. I refer to the mechanics and processes of writing that I used many years ago.

Now I am accustomed to sitting in front of a computer, admittedly on most days for too many hours. As I reflect I wonder why I have fallen into this routine or rather why I have not changed the routine, given that I have the freedom to do so.  I am not writing as a job, no one is paying me to do this writing and the days where being behind a desk for eight specific hours regardless of work quality or output are long gone. In other words I have choice about what things I do and how I do the things I choose. In this case I do have a choice about how much I rely on a computer and how I use a computer to further my choice to write. Except I only have choice if I am aware and awake enough to notice that I do have choice. Ironically, I believe that my home based computer roused me from my stupor.


Up until now I have followed a similar pattern established first through my few years working as a researcher/planner for government and government agencies and then in my pursuit of developing a thriving consultation business. My use of the computer expanded with the years until I found myself absolutely glued to the Beast every time I was in my office(s) (and that was most if not all days).

Much has changed, I no longer run a staffed business, I have moved to a different city and I have adamantly vowed to not waste any more of my time writing reports that have the sole purpose of allowing someone, usually a government employee, to say that they have looked into an issue—-not that they would use the report to do anything about the issue like addressing it but rather just to be able to say that they have commissioned and received the report. I have even tried to move away from writing altogether. I have attempted to turn this big ship around by engaging in completely different activities like working in a cafe, teaching Pilates and received a certification in teaching about dynamic alignment through imagery.

As is evident in this blog, something has pulled me back to writing and to writing about things that I care about. (I did by the way care a lot about the areas of concern that I did do research and writing about for government etc. And that I cared a lot did not allow me to continue to participate in what was pretence. Behind the facade of caring enough to assign the work it was difficult to find someone who cared enough to act on the findings of any of the reports they commissioned)

So I am writing again. Now I am writing about things I care a lot about and digging up my various pieces of writing from previous years that I never had time to complete or to publish. And here I am falling right back into routines and habits.

Pretty well every day I walk to my office, a pleasant 20 minute walk that gives me a chance to breathe fresh air, notice the birds, the trees, interesting individuals and the early morning dog walkers squeezing in a quick walk before heading off to work. I feel sad for the dogs being pulled along by tight faced frantic people obviously either not happy about walking their dog or about not being able to walk their dog longer, I am never sure which. Sometimes the coffee, just plain brewed dark tasty coffee served in diner style mugs that get refilled as many times as you want and cinnamon toast beckons me to the Acme Cafe. I often get inspired to write about something sitting in one of their cozy booths.

But most days I go directly to the office. Why? Because it is there and my computer is there. And what do I do there? I turn on my computer and there I sit captive for the entire day. Granted I do productive things: I read and reply to email; scan the internet news; force myself to keep on top of my accounting stuff; draft and craft documents for courses I am taking or teaching; write my blog piece and help with contract work that my partner continues to do. I can and do all of these activities sitting in front of my computer. Wow!

Writing for my blog drifted home with me and that is where my home based computer tried to wake me up. It took a while but it worked. The first weekend that I tried to post a blog at home my computer froze. Tenacious as I am I tried again but once again no luck.  It was a Sunday so my conclusion was that I would not post on Sundays. Over the weeks our connection to the internet at home became more and more tenuous until it was completely unreliable. It has since been resolved or so we hope but in the meantime my dependence on the computer had to change. I could not rely on the computer for the internet and that had a not so good impact on my ability to complete the tasks I was working on and consequently I just stopped putting the computer on at all while I was at home. At first it put a halt to my writing at home. Being incapacitated only lasted a little while and before I knew what hit me I was digging out my pencil and composing my pieces using my hand to write out the words!! It was just like the old days. I had started to write by hand not on the computer. Arrows pointing to the back side of the sheet of paper, asterisks carefully numbered leading the path through my train of thought looked like a bunch of scribbles. I would decipher it as I typed it up later in my office.

asterisks, arrows...where to now?

This morning as I was preparing to leave for my office not too happy about the pouring rain I remembered that I had a choice. So once again I reverted to old ways. So here I sit writing today’s post on reused paper with a pencil. I know it will need to be typed and there will time for that. Nonetheless having taken to old ways has been good. I have avoided the rain at least for now. Yesterday’s puzzling sore fingers are no longer a mystery. My shoulder and neck are thanking me for the break from the Beast. I speculate whether my thoughts flow differently through the pencil versus the keyboard. Most significantly my mind is swimming with thoughts about what else I might choose to do differently today.


Irene McDermott © 2011