- Know what you are trying to achieve.
- Decide what you need to know to achieve it, and ignore the rest.
- Learn to determine how to best use the information you receive.
- Adequately reflect on the information before acting on it.
- Act on what you learn.
This is all in the interest of making technology a less noticeable part of my life. Don’t misunderstand. I love it and am not sure that I could live without it. However, technology is a tool and should be treated as such. If I can comfortably move it to the background and not give it as prominent of a place in my daily life, I’ll be able to free my mind to engage in other pursuits: really think and not just browse, which is what I have realized that I do with a lot of what I read on the web when I’m “computering.”
My personal goal is to make it more about the writing–the words and the language–and less about the technology and the medium.
I spend far too much time in mind numbing, thoughtless activity. I hope that this project can be a powerful force for change against that negative neurological waste. I want to be different and unique–like everyone else–and, like every other blogger out there, I think my blog will be the podium and platform by which I’ll be able to assert my uniqueness.
However, I understand that in this I am not alone, and I am happy for that. Instead, I get to join my voice with all the others. Maybe it will be a harmonious chorus of ideas, or maybe it will get lost in the noise, unnoticed. Either way, I’m becoming a part of it.
Technology brings many gifts to life. But it also bring many new burdens. The next step forward will be learning how to best integrate the modern marvels of technology, but to not let it get in the way. My question is how to let technology work in the background, to be able to benefit from it fully, appreciate it, but not have to think about it or let it get in the way.
One step is to figure out exactly how much technology is needed to complete a particular task. It is easy to upgrade to the latest version of a super sophisticated word processor, only to get so caught up in the new and improved features that you forget what the program was intended for in the first place.
I’ve reverted back to using notepad, a computer program that was probably less complicated to make than a pen and a pad of paper. (No offence to the programmer, but I’m sure making a pen and a pad of paper from scratch would be quite the accomplishment.) I’ve found just in this first post that I am much more focused on the words and ideas that I am writing, because I am no longer thinking about the other functions and formatting I’m sure I’d be exploring in any other situation.
A blog is a technical wonder in itself. But ideally, it can function as an effective medium to showcase the written word. This blog is rather advanced, I think. I probably bit off more than I can chew with the template, and the HTML I had to learn to work with it. However, now that it’s set up, I can forget about it and let it work itself. I know the few simple functions to make it look presentable and keep it up to date. This lets me now turn my attention to the content, where it should be.
I’m trying out a new tool for writing. Rather than using a complicated program like Word or Open Office, I’m now just using Windows Notepad. There are almost no functions or options, just a full white window with a blinking cursor.
But the software is only half the story. I’m also using an old Gateway laptop that I bough off a college buddy for $20. There’s no Internet connection or media player. Later, I plan to wipe the hard drive as well to get rid of any possible distractions. I want to have a tool that is entirely dedicated to writing.
I spent a lot of time over the weekend working on the look and feel of this blog, but now the focus has shifted. The most important item on the agenda now is filling the pages with compelling content that is worth reading. I could have the most beautifully designed blog of all time, but without that, I will not be able to attract or grow an audience.
It is likely that the first several posts on this blog will seem somewhat disconnected. This is part of my process of finding my voice. I am confident that after working for awhile that I will find that flow and rhythm that all good writers have. That, I don’t believe, are what my problem will be. Rather, as always, my problem will be thinking of what to write about, and having the confidence that my choice of subject is worthy of being read.
It turns out that my attempts to find a simpler method of writing is not without its drawbacks. In what was meant to be a distraction free environment, I’ve managed to spend more time figuring out how to get this dinosaur to recognize my jump drive and to recognize my plug in key board. The space key on the laptop is unreliable, and I’m not in the mood to back space over every few words.
However, I’m determined. I’m passionate. And nothing can stop me now that I’ve begun. The life of a writer is a difficult one, especially for a young father with a full time job that I’m dedicated to and a little family that I love, more than anything, to spend time with.
Finally, I figured out now how to both run my jump drive and my keyboard on this paleontological computer. I brought my brush and have scraped away the dirt, and now I am ready to go.
I have it set up now where I can comfortable type with my feet up, keyboard in hand, with my computer sitting comfortably at my side on the near by coffee table. This is a very comfortable way for me to write and to map out my ideas. I don’t know if it will bring me closer to being a writer or not.
But it seems like many writers have very peculiar habits, and need to have things just so to work. Maybe me too. Maybe I’ve found what I need to work effectively. I cleaned out much of the clutter, and I’ve tried to make it so my focus can be on creating something new without the constant distraction of things that are old at my fingertips.
Recently, I had the inspiration to start this blog. It emerged from my memories of how I loved to write in high school and college. In high school I fancied myself a poet, and that continued through college, where I majored in writing. As a newspaper reporter, I felt right at home writing every day for a living.
Then I stopped. Apart from the occasional paper in grad school, I wrote almost nothing.
And now I’ve started again.
However, I’ve had to start again gradually. My day-to-day schedule is no longer that of a high school student and even less that of a college student.
I can’t drop everything in my life to follow on this urge. But I shouldn’t put it off.
The most important thing to do in a situation like this is to just start. Rather than sitting around and thinking about it, or even going through a detailed and scrupulous planning process, just start.
The details will come as they do and muddy up the original vision. This doesn’t have to halt or even change the original intention.
When you have an idea, act on it quickly before the initial excitement and passion gets drowned out by every excuse that arises.
My brain is a loud place, like a high school cafeteria, a constant clamor of activity screaming for my attention. It’s not that I have so much going on in my head because when it’s just me, I can hear the echo of a pin drop.
If they are, it’s at a faster pace than every before.