Finding a Desk to Write On
A tidy room is a tidy mind, according to a post I saw on social media. This year, I set up the spare bedroom as an office. I rearranged furniture, filed things, and opened a dedicated folder for my finances. It looked great.
But I am messy. Notes across the floor soon formed a map that was to lead to the formation of an idea I wanted to explore, a character to develop, a holiday destination to dream about.
For the first six months of this year, I took solace in this mess. I couldn’t part with the notes even when I realised the context they offered was long gone. A friend described his efficient note-taking system, so I ordered the book to explain it to me.
The book arrived and became a part of my map on the floor.
I have a lifetime habit of creating a mess, a way to keep myself busy, to procrastinate. This habit lets me hide behind a fear of possibility and potentiality. I convince a part of me that I am very busy, working hard. Look at this organised mess, this proves how busy I am!
But I wasn’t that busy. The mess represented the hope of a future success. I was planning it, I rarely executed it. When I investigated the mass of paper, most of their power was long gone.
The mess was an avoidance strategy. To clear it, I’d have to tidy an area of my life. It represented the fragile thread that binds action and inaction. That fine line where you see your potential but hold yourself back, safe in the comfort of passivity and fear.
I chose external noise over creation over and over.
The beauty of a newsletter and personal website is I have somewhere to publish my work and an audience to send it to. Yet in recent weeks, I approached it later and later. The comforting voice of inaction called me and tried to lull me into a place of comfort.
I approached the weekly piece I would write with trepidation and angst. I took out my nice pens and hard-back notebooks and tried to force the work. I opened the specialised software I invested in to help my writing and only frustration rose.
As I cleared up the physical mess, a psychological space in my head opened.
There is a simple path I can take, but it’s something I only discovered this year. I have a pattern of behaviour. I think something has to be difficult to reap a reward from it.
If I want to do something, the difficult route is the one I take. I question my ability and my intelligence, I read more to understand more. Doing this gives me a buffer zone. I tell myself that I am working hard but the work is, in fact, difficult. When I saw this pattern of behaviour, I saw the missed opportunities. And it is possible that I know enough to just start.
I have more avoidance strategies up my sleeve than most. Now, I remember to KIS. Keep It Simple.
And simplicity is the key to forming and keeping a habit.
I sit at my desk, open a blank document, and give an idea the time to come to life on a page. And I repeat this simple step of sitting down over and over. At times, the work is hard, and when I catch myself thinking it is difficult, I zoom out and look for the easy route.
And repeating this process is the practice of eventually getting myself from here to there.
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