I have really been struggling lately with a writing requirement for a new program I started. I decided three years ago to become a Gestalt trained coach. I started the program and then let someone talk me out of finishing it. I say “let” because, while the persons comments dismissing the program may have been self-serving, I was the one who took them to heart and believed them.
I committed to the program this fall and, if all goes well, will be certified by the summer. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that I have resolved the issues that caused me to throw in the towel three years ago, only one of which I am fussing with today – the jounaling requirement. I have to submit a certain number of journal entries per month as part of a development plan. I am already behind.
I have a couple of problems with this requirement. First, a journal by definition is supposed to be a private record of ones thoughts. So writing a journal for someone read after the fact to track your developmental progress hangs me up. Secondly, it was explained to me by folks who like this sort of thing that journaling is a kind of self-dialog. When I do that I call it “thinking” and I don’t generally write it down. Unless there is a topic, assignment or an audience.
I have not been able to figure out how to make myself the audience. I write these blog posts but I imagine (perhaps speciously) that I am in conversation with whoever reads them. And I am not being graded for overall improvement or developmental growth or however the journal will be evaluated. Perhaps I am overthinking. Actually I am without a doubt overthinking. Its one of my many skills that has yet to find a category to live in on my resume.
What I am trying not to do is turn the requirement into a work of fiction. Writing carefully groomed installments with an eye toward that A+ with just the right soupçon of insight and self-deprecating humor. So I am stuck.
I came across a great quote by Susan Orlean today that sums up where I am with my journaling requirement
“Remember this: writer’s block doesn’t exist. What does exist is a condition in which you don’t really know what you’re trying to say, and therefore are having trouble saying it.”
I really don’t know what I am trying to say yet. So I guess I’ll keep blogging until I figure it out.
First things first is a curious phrase. It makes me think – well how could you do last things first? – anyway it works in this case. I have not had even a few minutes to post since before the election and I’m sure my readers have abandoned me by this point, but I am determined to get back in my groove.
First things first. I can’t begin to offload what would have been in the last 8 – 10 posts (if I’d had 30 minutes in a row to think during the last few weeks), but a brief overview.
Obama won the election. Thank you Jesus, Buddha, Yahweh and millions of volunteers. I really don’t know what I would have done if that hadn’t happened. The consequences of Obama not being elected were so anathema to my values that I was truly in a state of distress watching the returns. Much hard work ahead but man, oh, man, not what it would have been.
I have gotten past a mountain of deadlines and am now (re)considering boundaries. I realized my last full day off was Saturday, October 13th. I am very much looking forward to November 17th when my newly developed sense of logical, healthy boundaries will commence. I tried to explain to someone that I didn’t start out this way. Emergencies turn into priorities and like a frog in a pot of slowly heating water it took me a long to time to understand I was being boiled alive. I have effectively jumped out of the pot never to return. Anyone catching me working on weekends (not for myself) has the right to demand $100 on the spot.
Still need to process:
- my republican neighbors,
- baby steps toward making new friends,
- my plans to launch a new consulting practice,
- a requirement to “journal” that I am trying to figure how to cheat by using blog posts,
- my daughter traveling for three days without us,
- the Sandusky verdict,
- Sonya Sotomyer helping little girls understand that being a princess is not a career path.
And so much more. Let the writing resume.
I need an editor. Or a proofreader or something. I write these posts pretty fast and furious (often outraged rather furious actually), and rarely have time to review them carefully for typos or other silly errors.
When I started writing this blog I promised myself I wouldn’t take longer to write a post than it would take someone to read it. Well that rarely happens, but I do try finish in under an hour if I don’t have any interruptions, which also rarely happens. A post can sit in draft and get a few sentences added throughout the day from whatever device I have open at the time, so it can get jagged.
The real problem is when I read the last post and see subject verb agreement issues, spelling errors (I am legendary in my inability to spell) and general typos and wince when I think someone has read it and, like me when I am not the writer, immediately noticed the glaring error.
So I have two choices. Write slower and review more carefully before I hit publish or find someone willing to edit my ramblings. Since my free time will be contracting even more severely as we head into October, (and debate season!!) applications are currently being accepted for editor/proofreader god or goddess.
Yesterday as I slogged through endless emails I had an idea for a new App – The BizMail Translator.
It could be embedded at the bottom of web pages as a service like a URL shortener. It would have to be a smart app to constantly adjust to changing management speak and would probably have to be a Wiki so contributors could help us stay on top of paradigm-shifting communication advances in the field of organizational management.
Examples of translations:
- “Sorry for the confusion…” >>> “Next time read the damn email before you reply…”
- “Thanks for understanding…” >>> “Tough luck Chuck!”
- “To follow up on our telephone conversation…” >>> “You cover your ass, I’ll cover mine.”
- “You mentioned you didn’t get this email…” >>> “Since you’re not in the loop…”
- “Just a reminder about the meeting…” >>> “Since you never freakin’ answer…”
- “I appreciate your attention to this matter…” >>> “NOW! I need this NOW! Five minutes ago!”
- “I hope I captured the tenor of our conversation…” >>> (see cover your ass above)
Additional examples welcome.
I have been remiss in my postings.
I diligently take notes on my iPhone for blog posts and then don’t get around to expanding and posting them. Two solutions to this non-problem (since the blog is not actually a project with a deadline) first, I will figure out how to post from my phone and second, I will stop thinking that the posts have to be 500 words or more.
My goal is to take only slightly longer to write my post than it takes someone to read it. And because the work I do for a living is neither interesting nor meaningful, there is no reason not to spend 20 minutes a day *sharing*.
Coming Soon! (future posts I have notes for – and I take requests):
“Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked”
“Nihilism and Twinkling”
“Existential Crisis Lite (Reduced Fat, Gluten Free)”
“If I were a Stranger…”
The general hilarity continues.
Some days there are no new words.
Nothing original to say. No insights, musings or ruminations. This is different than writers block which, for me, is not being able to decide how to say what I want to say. “No new words” is more specific.
When you make colored icing for cookies or a cake, there is moment when you add the drops of food coloring to the bowl of snowy white icing and draw the knife through. The color swirls and spreads creating a fascinating and beautiful design. And when you are done – it is all one color.
Some days thoughts and ideas are stirred too thoroughly, and its all one color.
No new words.
So I have been toying with the idea of starting a blog if only to spare my husband listening to my daily rants. So lets give it a whirl.
This blog is anonymous, or semi I guess since you know my name is Amanda, for a reason. The “Croans” that swirl around all my rational thinking are the words of wisdom passed down to me from my parents. They are both deceased (my dad 18 years ago and my mom 10), but there are the siblings to consider.
In the hours after each of my parents died some of my siblings erased from their minds all the crappy, mean and outrageously insane things that my parents did or said to any of us. My parents became saints. So to avoid any confrontations about disputed facts or loyalty to clan, the names and identities will be changed.
Its funny how people think blog writing is about them anyway. People I describe may sound exactly like your brother-in-law, the stories may seem like they are about your family, a motherly turn of phrase may cause reflexive tensing, but really, its not your family I am writing about.
Or maybe I am.