Disaster in the Writing Cove!


Sign up for Writing Nerd’s newsletter! It comes out on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month and features links and other nerd tidbits.  This week, it’s gravity-defying dogs and temporal motion.

Most of the time when I write, the adventures are just on the page.  Seldom in real life are adventures that we really want.

This week, when I came home, I discovered that maintenance had to go into my walls to fix a broken pipe in the building. 

Guess where the pipe was?  In the Writing Cove!

(It’s a cove because coves are beautiful and open and overlook water…not that that’s the reality.  It actually overlooks a busy street.  But windows are important, even if the view isn’t pretty.)

The maintenance guy tore out part of the wall and ceiling and left cardboard screwed in.  No water damage.  Apparently, the leak was caught pretty quickly.  Water was coming out of the ceiling in the basement.  Someone reported it, and maintenance shut off the water until they could figure out where it was.

But it’s been disruptive.  My desk was moved and is not in a place where I like it.  I could move it back, but there are two more rounds of repairs to come.

I’m also one of those people who think with a bit of mess, but it’s an organized mess, which means I know where everything is.  So suddenly everything is not where it was supposed to be.  So my cove has been disrupted by a storm.

Maintenance came back and did the drywall.  Next up is the plaster—they have to fix the kitchen, too, since it’s on the other side.  They punched through it during the repairs.  After the plaster, then painting and the Writing Cove can go back to normal.

It’s amazing how much I don’t like this change.

But then, it’s definitely not a good change for me. 

Change—The way of life

Many years ago (and two jobs back), the company I was at had to replace their 1960s software system.   It was time.  The employees experienced in the programming languages of the tool were retiring or dying off, so the system was patched together as things broke.

A lot of employees who operated on the system were very upset.  The old system may have been cantankerous, but they knew it.  Writing Nerd suspects that the new system wasn’t very intuitive.  Programmers tend to assume that once you discover the logic of the system, it’ll be easy—and that makes learning it at all a huge challenge.

The company communicated and communicated and communicated.  They had a website, a newsletter, roadshows, open houses…and really, they could not overcome the single major problem the introduction of the new system created.

Fear of failure.

One woman just started crying at her desk because she was struggling so much with learning the system.  Unfortunately, the tendency of learning today is to throw everything including the kitchen sink at people and expect them to somehow magically absorb it.

Basically, we’re often asked to jump into the deep end of the swimming pool.  We can’t see the bottom because the waters are murky and green.  Nor do we know how to swim.  We’re supposed to trust that somehow all will work out for us.

Yet, change isn’t always a bad thing.  The post in the Additional Reading inspired me to think more about change. We deal with change all the time.

Sometimes change is exasperating

Like when I headed to the gym and got to where I needed to make a right turn.  Road closed due to police activity.  I had to go around to get back to where I needed to be.

Sometimes change is overwhelming

Like the first time I got a personal rejection from a pro-rate magazine.  It was such a huge acknowledgment that I was that good at writing that it blew me out of the water for six months.  But it was a good change that prepared me for last week.  I got my first pro acceptance.

Sometimes change is terrifying

We’re seeing this pretty much everywhere.  The old ways are being disrupted and it’s happening too fast.  The result has been that it’s bringing out the worst in people.

But sometimes it’s important to take a chance and step off into the unknown.

Additional Reading

The Ugly Truth About Why People Resist change.  Very interesting reading.  This post had Writing Nerd thinking a lot about why change can be disruptive.

Once upon a rabbit trail


The story is going along and going along.  Then the muse sees something shiny because it always likes shiny and it’s off!  It’s following a rabbit trail.

Unknown territory.

The grass is tall and whispers when the wind stirs.  The air smells of a tingle of…something.

Up ahead.

Is a good thing?  Is it a bad thing?  Is a dead end?  Let’s find out!

Is the rabbit trail a waste of time?

Somehow we’ve become a world where everything should be planned.  Whether it’s a story or your day down to the very minute.

Spontaneity is important for the muse.

The unknown stretches us.

Makes us see new things.  That feeds the muse, and the story.

But there’s always a problem…

Sometimes it’s a false trail.  Happens.

Sometimes it’s important to try and fail to find the right path.

If we always follow the well-trod path, it’s not creative.  It’s just what everyone else is doing.  That’s not really creative either.

The Writer Nerd gets involved

But that little voice is gonna come in and say that venturing off the known path is wasting time, and wasting words.

It’s fear.

It might not look like fear.  It might not act like fear.

And fear keeps everyone from trying.  What if I step off the well-trod path and the rabbit trail is full of weeds?

What if it makes me waste my time?

What I find a better path, a better story?  Better than what I thought?

That can be terrifying!  But the muse needs a little fear and a little fun to thrive.

More Reading