Right-Brain Pain and Gain...
Getting Organized After Seeing the Light

Since seeing the light in Myanmar/Burma, I am a different person. While I have been left of center and driven on social issues in the States and in the world for all my adult life, I am more motivated than ever before. While I am attempting to explain all the reasons for this explosion to address and help change the world so that it can be a better place, I do have some problems. One of my major problems is organization...or rather the lack thereof.

I am right-brain, which I feel is a blessing. Nonetheless, it does cause problems in my life. I am far more interested in the global picture than the details. I am motivated to address issues like racism/sexism/homophobia in the States or independence issues is Scotland, Myanmar, or Ukraine. However, those concurrent drives clutter my mind and computer, which often results in disorganization.

Enter China. China is web developer at Moraine Valley Community College. When she is not working at her job at Moraine, she is my web administrator. In the past couple of years, she has redesigned my webpage, organized it, and expanded my webpage to include Facebook.

China is great. However, she is left-brain and loves organization. She has, more than once...a week, attempted subtly to suggest ideas and way for me to do what I want to do...but in a far more organized way. Interestingly, many of her ideas I came up with over my long and eclectic life but have not used them recently to any extent. In addition, my lack of organization is seen when I save an article by one name and over a week of writing, editing, and making additions, change the title of the article but not the file name. Then I send off to China several articles with varying names to be posted. I have improved upon that a great deal.

While I have tried intermittently to comply with all of China's suggestions, my enthusiasm about the vast myriad of ideas floating in my head distracts me from the use of common sense much of the time. I did not directly address most of her suggestions until a month ago when I just got so overwhelmed with all my literary pans in the fire at the same time. I wasted time trying to figure out what I sent, when it would be posted, and not being able to find a saved file. Talk about being rattled.

Al chatting with China on Skype

There I was this great dreamer...lost in space...a cluttered space in my head and on my computer. That is when I finally woke-up. If I was serious about helping the world change for the better, I need to address my intoxication of seeing the light while in Myanmar. While I am happy about seeing the light, I needed to sober-up and get organized.

One of the first things that I did was to create a chart with a place for the name of the article and columns next to each article. The columns were draft, proofed, video, and date to be posted. Interestingly, I had used that technique while I wrote a newspaper column for over a dozen years. However, I quit doing so, which resulted in paying a price of lack of organization.

I am addressing another problem. Right-brain people get wondrous ideas and if you do not write some notes down, you run the risk of losing your wonderful idea. Therefore, I had tried for some time to jot down a couple thoughts and save it to a file of ideas for future articles. However, often when I would go back to the file several weeks later, I discovered to my creative chagrin that my great idea that I jotted down were not detailed enough. Therefore, when jotting down notes about which I want to write, I need to write more than a few notes that I clearly understand at the time but will not necessarily several days later. I am fleshing out ideas a great deal more.

On my desktop, I have a folder called ARTICLES. Inside that folder, I have three sub-folders: Works in Progress, Works to be sent to China, and Writing Ideas. When I finish an essay and it has been proofed and ready to be sent to China, it is moved to the folder with China's name. In the process of doing so, I also save the essays to my hard drive. Then I go to the Writing Ideas, pick 4-5 wannabe articles, and move them to the Works in Progress file.

The idea of 4-5 articles being sent en mass to China was her idea. It would save her time, and I liked it for two reasons: it saved me money and forced me into organizing my writing for the next two weeks. This article is the fifth article that will complete this month's work. In addition, I have a self-imposed schedule of writing two articles each week, which forces me to work on a handful of articles within precise time constraints.

Now, lest my readers think that I am an incarnation of the most organized writer in recent history, I ain't. Nevertheless, I am far, far more organized than I have ever been. I did return from Myanmar a different person. I am writing twice as many articles per month and many are many times longer and in more detail. I wish that I had learned this lesson about the no pain, no gain about writing long ago, but at least I learned it.

Thanks, China.

If you are looking for a great web developer and administrator, this is China's website.

On Seeing the Light

On Seeing the Light

Visit the On Seeing the Light page to read more about this topic.