After posting yesterday’s “750 Words – Just Type” I got an email from my mom asking, “You’re not having a nervous breakdown, are you?” So I thought it deserves a bit of explanation. No, I’m not going crazy. Here’s what it’s all about.
There’s a book called The Artist’s Way, that prescribes writing 750 words every day, just to clear your head and write. I like this challenge and take it from time to time when I go to make a journal entry and don’t know where to begin. I just write, freeform, often stream of consciousness, often in a dialogue with myself, using any method that motivates me to keep writing.
Yesterday, as I was trying unsuccessfully to stay focussed, I posted to Twitter and Facebook: “typing 750 words just to write… about all the reasons my fingers pause on the keys.” An friend from church in high school responded on Facebook: “That’s flippin hilarious, man. As usual, you stun me.” So instead of keeping my post private, as I usually do, I made it a public post, figuring I’m entertaining someone.
And just for the record, that bit about hating Buster Benson was tongue-in-cheek. I am jealous of the cool projects he starts, but he’s a inspiration. Buster started a site, 750words.com, to help facilitate and track this writing exercise. He’s managed to accomplish some really cool stuff building online communities. Check out his projects at Enjoymentland.
So I’m not crazy, and I don’t hate anyone, I just think it really valuable to write freeform once in a while, even if it scares your mom.
5:30 PM Sitting in the studio with the door and window open, zoning out to the birds twirlee deeing and chweep chweeping. Do we really need language to have thought? Maile and Anais went to run and swim and I stayed behind hoping to do some of this, thinking and writing.
I’m getting better at shutting off work and being unproductive when I need to just be with my girls or take some time off, like right now. It’s hard to know how much time to give yourself and when to prevent yourself from working on a weekend when you want to.
The goal of 750 words hangs over me now, now that I know that artists following the Artist’s Way do, and that Buster Benson does. He even gets a bunch of other people to do it. And now health month, the game. I hate that guy, he’s like me, but better.
Don’t stop, Jase. And quite hitting the backspace button. OK. The goal is not care if you make any typing mistakes for the next 600 words. I can do it. In fact lemme practice right now… adslij aave[appaj alj and aif out oaf all os dair ioj is i caisn ooo s-mopop qhut maoesyin oust os t fathwwn i caon do what nfo maon ha don beforrrrr.
Thaates kinda fcf ubn and hard. my instinct is to correct mysefl and i makkea lost os stupid mistakes especialy lwhne my finders arent’ on th theyboard. ok new experiement, expect im not stopping th old onw where i don’;t correct myself. but this one is just about how fast you can tyep coherent or at least barely coherent stuff. ok. go.
this is not toind so well from the beggining im; running out of things to think and skay nin stead of lacking the speed to ype it all. ok. so let me tyoe something that i already know, like onme of my songs. ok. go.
i wsa on my way to church one sunday morn
the sunwas bright and the weeather wats warm, th
the wintrer was over and i nedded my coat
the streetw were clear and the cars ran slow
there a clown breathed flame and ate the fire
dugled a knife a book and a tie
he called all the childrena d tave them all toys
sent them back to their paretns for coins
then i cam to the poet who spoke like a song
with words that were perfect and buigufilly long
he called all the children and gave them all toys
sent them back to their prtents for coins
then i came the one man band
who’d rigged up stifngs to every finder on his hang
and from a little dance and from a little song
came a chorus of strings and drums and gongns
then a little knelt and played on a pipe
a reel quick tune the Irish type
and two young brothers played violin
as their mother and father passed round the tin
This is preety hard and in don’t know if it helps to look at the screen at all, i must say. but what’s holding me up? finger speed and accuracy of course. but there are lots of pauses in my fingers that seem completely related to my mental pauses pawses. liek the one that just took me about ten seconds of zonign out.
HJmmm. So where does this leave us>? in thedark? no, practiced, at least. Closer tot he mythcial 750. But lest talk about the mythical 100 people that I can keep up with. And the posited 9 months after which serious relationship decay occurs if neglected. Let’s look at the numbers.
There are 365 day, divided between 100 people, is an average of thats contact with each 3.65 days a year, right? orami craxy/stupid?./ COnfession: I used a calculator to that simple simple division by 100. oh hwell.
That makes sense, though… contact each of your top 100 at least 3-4 times a year, or every 3-4 months. Now given that there’s a bell curve invlolved, that’s means they’res a bunch of people you see frequently and spend a lot of time with, and another bunch that you do’t contact but every 6-9 months too.
So is this supposed to be a conscious decision, or first just an observation of who you spend time with. Perhaps an audit is in order. Why don’t I revive my daily checklist and start with the question: who did you contact today? who did you have a real conversation with, no matter how brief? ok.
I’m hungry for my music to connect me to my people and lead me on an artistic adventure of song and service. So, to drive this metaphor into the ground, I need a recipe for a big wonderful meal so I can concentrate on following the directions and stop just snacking on junk food.
What am I talking about? The Plan. The discipline. I summed this up in Sat Morn,
I was sitting on the stump by the stream
Across from where I’ve been
I could see the rut I was in and how well worn
How I sit day after day
Dreamin bout the places I’ll play
Instead of finding ways to get it done…
I know that I need that plan
That details who I am
Defines the discipline to win the war,
To forget about my worst
Put out my best and bust onto the scene
Like the first one to be born.
So instead of optimistically shifting my focus to every shiny strategy that flies in front of me, I need to set my strategy down, get the help, input and feedback I need to correct it and stick to it so I can realize some modest goals.
Maile has started some helpful conversations with me this week employing all the methods that were used on her by her strategic growth consultant for ENGLISH @ WORK. Tomorrow evening we’ll begin to use this method to do for me what was done so well for her org to focus them on a plan. I can’t wait.
I’m hungry. I’m hungry for connection. I’m hungry for my music to get out of my head, around my circle, out into the world where it can make new friends and I can follow its path on an adventure to find my people and share with them what I have. This cartoon came today and it reminded me of that old grumble in my belly. It started as a teenager, wanting to find my place, my people, make my art, my mark.
Now I’ve lived with it so long that I don’t notice when days of suppressing it go by because I’m busy, distracted. But it’s not hard to bring back the old desperation these days, the feeling that I’m going to go crazy if I don’t hurry up and become what I want to be and think I am, if I can just prove it to myself and the world.
I’ve lived with it so long that I know, from thousands of spent cycles, that the hunger is a feeling that aches itself away and is dissipated without being translated into anything more often than not. And as I get older and more disciplined, I see that whatever progress I’ve managed to make, it is often in many different directions.
Instead of having a journey of a thousand miles to show for my hunger, I’ve got a map of a small area, wandered and traversed thousands of times. Now I know that the hunger is only a drive that must be directed or it will spin me around and around like I’m blindfolded, playing pin the tale on the donkey with my own ass.
Maile produced these infographic sketches of the ENGLISH @ WORK model for as it has evolved over the last three years. I’m proud on so many levels.
I’ve been wanting and waiting for someone to give me a visual interface for my network. Nice job LinkedIn: inmaps.linkedinlabs.com/network