Monday, March 14, 2016

100 Pieces of Paper

I have to admit that I'm an old-fashioned kind of girl in some respects. Here in this age of technology and information-at-our-fingertips overload, I still write things down by hand. Maybe it goes back to all those years I spent in libraries doing research and having to copy things from the reference books that we couldn't take out. Or, it could go back to my days as a reporter for a small town daily when my notebook was never further than my purse. Perhaps it's just because I love the feel and the sound of pen on paper, of words taking shape under my fingers - the love of a writer for what she does. 

However, my addiction to writing things down had, I am ashamed to admit, gotten out of hand. You see, I didn't always write things down in a notebook. No, I grabbed whatever piece of paper that was within reach and wrote down whatever quote I had just seen that touched me, or a line from a book I was reading that I wanted to reference back to on some project I was currently working on. Since I am a committed recycler, I cut up paper that has only been used on one side into the size of a notepad and use it as such. Hence the piles of little 3 x 5 slips of paper that are sticking out of the front, back and middle of the notebooks I bought to one day actually copy them all down so they are all in one place. Oh, I do make use of technology from time to time. I keep my cell phone handy and use the memo app to write down my grocery list as I think of things I need and, if I see or hear something I want to remember, I use that feature to write it down ... until I end up with a list a mile long on my phone as well. It got to the point that it was seriously affecting my work because I could not remember where I put that quote I saw the other day that would be just perfect for that new chapter I was working on, or for Flower Bear's Thought For The Day (daily on her Facebook Fan Page). So, I finally stopped all of my other work and made the decision that I would spend a couple of hours to copy all of the little slips of paper on my desk and the endless memos on my phone into one place. Little did I know when I sat down to do this that a couple of hours was not going to even make a dent in the pile because it had grown to a slightly over 100 little pieces of paper! It took me working a couple of hours a day for an entire week to complete the project. I now have all of my quotes and bits of information in one notebook, with another one empty and ready to take on anything new. I have committed to checking in every morning right after I finish journaling to enter anything I may have jotted down on the run the day before. And you know what? My writing started to get better. My mind was free, ideas started flowing, and I felt as if some great burden had been lifted off my chest. My piles of paper were literally and psychically weighing me down.

The moral of this story is that we let so much of our outside life pile up into piles and piles of little pieces that it blocks our creativity: lists of things to do, places to be, people to see, projects to work on, It's more than just putting everything down in a day planner or on a calendar. It's making a point to take time each day to review, remove the unnecessary, consolidate and make sure that none of it takes away from your real life, the one you were put here to live, and the work you were put here to do. Life was meant to be enjoyed not managed.

Gee, maybe I could arrange all of those quotes by subject: gardening quotes, spiritual quotes, women's quotes ... somebody stop me!

And so it is!