creative process

 A few years ago, a friend of mine looked at my calculator (a high school grade one) and remarked:

"You know Albert, that calculator you have in your hand is more powerful that the computer that put the first man on the moon."

I was close to dumb-struck. I had barely moved my grades higher than my nose with it while "less fortunate" fellows saw new horizons!

So you could tell he had my attention. And now I hope I equally have yours. But there is so much more to this story.

You might have noticed that the convenience of having all this assistance can work against your ability (and willingness) to engage critically with ideas, riddles, and other thinking tasks. Why would you when you could just Google it?

Here, though, is the problem.

Just as with the illustration my friend made, what he outlined to me was that whereas I viewed my calculator as an aid, he showed me that I should look specifically as a tool. This tool could do no more than what I purposed it to do. I had imposed limits on it and it would serve me only as far as I was willing to take those limits.

So very recently I applied that approach to my writing. After spending the better part of 2 hours staring at my computer screen running mindless searches, I decided to take a 30-minute pen and paper break to generate a content outline.

Within 10 or so minutes, I had outlined the general structure for this very article, and so many other interesting nuggets came out that I shall have to cover those elements in a subsequent post. What a return on time invested: 10 minutes in silence for what I had failed to do in 2 hours! I wonder how many others out there have had a similar bite?

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