The old saying that creativity is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration is true, as any writer or artist knows from experience. Not that it’s always an effort. At times, as a writer, I’ve experienced how the words just flow as if coming from an already written text within my subconscious mind. Other times getting the words to express what they are intended to can be quite a challenge. Writers block is a well-known problem for many. And as if it isn’t challenging enough, now -days we have technology to either help or hinder us in our projects.
When I first started my writing career I had a portable manual typewriter, then as my writing was paying off a bit, I was able to afford an electric one, then upgraded to an IBM Seletric, then a word processor, and then of course, to a computer.
To be perfectly honest with you, before I had a computer I never ever believed in the devil! Then I realized there is indeed a devil, and he lives in computers, or least in mine! Or maybe that Murphy was bent on proving to me over and over again that what can go wrong will go wrong, or at the most frustrating times I thought perhaps Murphy and the devil were in cahoots to sabotage my creative processes and inhibit my progress. Just joking of course.
I know that computers are created by humans and programmed by people and they cannot by the simple facts of life be perfect. It doesn’t automatically relieve us knowing this while in the midst of dealing with software and hardware misbehavior! One has to keep reminding oneself of the facts of life when confronted with what seems to be constant glitches in the techno systems, and be creative as well as knowledgeable in fixing them.
Actually I had the very first PC made by Tandy Corporation for Radio Shack. In those days I used it mainly for ESP testing and training because it had within it a random number generator; necessary for our scientific purposes. I graduated from there to the more sophisticated machines as they were introduced and now of course I am somewhat up to date with the technology; though in no way a techy.
I have diverted a little in my story here, because this isn’t about my history as a writer, it’s about the nature of technology itself, and how it can positively and negatively impact productivity. It’s a love hate relationship as far as I’m concerned; and also for so many people I speak with on the subject of computers and the technological ways of life we are all engulfed in.
My book The Mind Is Willing was first published in 2005, even then I marveled at how I could send the text via email to my publisher and work via email with proofreaders and editors. Not like the old days of sending manuscripts to publishers and saving carbon copies. Now my book has gone digital, it’s on Kindle and Nook and people can get it in their hands via cyber space faster than you can say the title and author. And you can simply go on-line and order it from Amazon and get it by clicking a button or two on your computer. And my new book Set Backs and Come Backs will be going to readers the same way. Amazing!
Yet there is a paradox in this, as I have no sense of the actual limitations of the human mind, its creativity and inventiveness; so when my students and clients report what they think is amazing things because of my Mind Mastery course or through our work together with my Whole Mind Hypnotherapy, I always say, “I am never amazed, I am always in awe.” I know the power of the human mind and its myriad capabilities and how to access and employ so many of them. I’ve seen over and over what astounds people who have no idea of its potential. So what computers can do ought not to surprise me.
The fact is that I cannot help but be amazed as much as I am frustrated by the technology at my disposal. Do you share with me the same mixed feelings?
I know full well, that almost everything in life is a trade-off, that all power can be used for good or ill, nothing is perfect and all that, and I accept this fact of life too when it comes to technology and computers in particular. I need my computer today, more than ever. It keeps me in touch with my clients; it opens new worlds of knowledge for me that I could not dream of acquiring so quickly and conveniently otherwise, and its allowing me to reach you at this very moment; how neat is that? Yes, it tests my patience and endurance at times and makes the 99 percent perspiration of my creativity a reality more often than I care to calculate. Would I choose to go back to a typewriter? NO.
And in a way I kind of like the fact that it’s truly mind-boggling, how it works at all, no matter how well its all explained to me; rather like when I ‘m in or see a huge jet flying high above the earth; even though I know about the laws of aerodynamics, it still seems, well, honestly, incomprehensible, and yes, amazing! Like the bumble bee, who flies regardless of its supposed inability to do so. I love the mysteries of life, being mystified is a lovely feeling, is it not?
I admire and respect those who design computers and create the software, and I am often in awe of their capabilities. Recently though in writing a book, ironically called Setbacks and Comebacks: How To Prevent and Overcome Stuck States and Set Backs, while also creating a newsletter and getting The Mind Is Willing onto Kindle, Nook and onto Amazon* I was just about ready to end my relationship with computers once and for all! Thankfully we have our Mind Mastery skills that kept us calm and on course with cool determination.
The thing is, you see, I’m not a quitter, I never give up, its one of the qualities my hypnotherapy clients appreciate in me; it comes from the belief that where there is a will there is a way and with a creative open-minded approach, thinking outside of the box, we can achieve what we set out to do. The Set Backs and Comebacks book is so relevant in all this, and the writing of it and getting it ready for publication proved its point very well: Understanding what’s wrong how to correct it and pursuing all avenues leads to ultimate success. Its knowing how to work through those issues that the book is all about. and come back stronger. Perseverance has paid off once more and the end products are finally out there. However when people ask when I’m going to write another book, my first thought is, “What, another battle with the computer? No thank you.” Though of course the creative drive and motivation to help people will lead me back to my computer to work on the next book; the idea is already in mind.
My husband Don who is a truly brilliant and intuitive techy, and other experts did their best to solve the problems that kept coming up during the past several weeks while doing our best to accomplish the goals: Some without any success and often only adding to the problems. We even bought a refurbished Apple to add to the Apple Don uses quite happily, and three PC’s already on our desks and laps. Which by the way none of which would perform according to programs during these projects, whichever system was employed, and many were! It was as if we were being tested by some mean powerful force, as one after the other problem came up to be solved only to be offered another.
Yet, here I am again, sitting here writing to you, reporting on my experiences on a machine that works for and with me, quite efficiently at this moment. Lesson re-learned, one I’d like to share: We have to take the bitter with the sweet. When the world hands you a lemon, (as one of my computers and some of the software employed turned out to be) make lemonade. That’s, just what we did, we made some very sweet lemonade: Two books ready to be read, a newsletter written and ready to go out, and now this blog.
TTFN and all the best, always, from Elaine.
P.S. Sorry, The Better Living Newsletter newsletter not available yet, more computer issues to resolve first!