...index cards. I swear. When I was in high school, a teacher taught us how to use note cards to construct a paper: you make an outline, transfer it to note cards and then add extra cards throughout to supplement with content. You re-order, create transitions and write your paper. That process saved my bacon several times in high school and college. I have so much trouble sitting down to a blank piece of paper (or word document, as the case may be). For me, blogging is different, though. It's a conversation. It's what is streaming through my mind. No real paragraphs, no literary integrity. You get what you pay for, I guess.
Anyway (my favorite paragraph transition....did you notice?), there have been times in my life when I have gone back to the note card process. Sometimes, when my plate is full and some big projects are looming, I procrastinate. Or maybe "freeze" is more like it. I'd rather work quickly through the little stuff because it's so hard to start the big stuff. I mentioned before that I am speaking at this conference. I'm doing a one-hour presentation; I do these frequently enough, I know the content, it's no problem.
I'm also doing a 3 hour workshop. Yeah, you read that right....three freaking hours. That's like a baseball game. It's the average amount of sleep I've been getting per night. I could paint a room in three hours. And with everything else that's been going on (being sick for as long as I was, traveling, etcetera), the slides for this three hour workshop have been on my mind. I'm sitting at home, getting other stuff done and it's hanging over me....or sitting on my chest. I want it off!
Well, last week, I wrote about some of the challenges of working from home. Change of venue can be a good thing. Now, I know that I should not be working on the weekend. But sometimes, getting stuff done on a quiet Saturday does something wonderful for my state of mind. It allows me just to work on that thing. Nobody expects me to be "in". I feel like I make progress on getting caught up. Plus, I've got lots of social plans this weekend and I always have more fun when there's not the specter of an unfinished slide deck sitting on my chest (hanging around my neck? clinging to my leg?). I'm off to San Diego next week and I don't want to be worried about slides there either.
I had finished my one-hour slide deck and packed up my notes and index cards and headed out to Victors in downtown Redmond. I got my grande skinny vanilla latter for here, plopped down with my stuff and got to work. I put each slide from my one-hour deck on an index card, wrote up index cards for everything else I thought I needed to cover, based on materials I had gathered and the requests of the conference organizers. And by the time the last few sips of my coffee were cold in my cup, I had the framework, and about half of the content, for my three hour presentation. All in order on my nice little index cards.
Now maybe part of the reason why I am excited about this is that I kicked my major caffeine habit over the last few weeks (I still drink it, but I don't need it to stave off headaches...no withdrawal...whee!) and that big dose of java is doing something to my disposition. But mostly, it's because I am a couple weeks behind in submitting my slides (I am so sorry, Kate) and now I see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I'm not sure if it would help anyone to know about my process. And I can't even remember which teacher in high school taught me the little index card tricks (there was actually a more formal process that I forget). But I'm sending good juju their way. I'm 52% more relieved (and 100% more caffeinated) than I was a few hours ago and that's saying something.