Thoughts generated by the article below There! A blog title that says plainly what I am about to post! In the article below, the author [Steve Jobs’s biographer] told a parable which has decided my course of action here. Jobs, in the early days of developing the original Macintosh computer, went to the engineer responsible for programming the boot up – and complained it was too slow and he wanted 10 seconds shaved off – the engineer began to explain why this was not technically possible – but Jobs refused to accept this & asked – if lives depended on your reducing the boot time by 10 seconds, do you think you could do it? The engineer replied yes. A short time later, that engineer had reduced the boot up time by 28 seconds. Reality Distortion Field.
I skimmed the article as usual – but I got from it some pointers that might apply to my work as writer.
Secondly: Reality Distortion Field – the impossible is possible
I am no Steve Jobs – in fact, my character is very different than his apparently was – I am introverted, mild and meek and dislike shouting and contention and my default position is others are always right and I am always wrong – and am unfocussed – my mind shoots off in all directions. This is both a strength and weakness for the sort of writing I do. So I decided to impose a shell of focus over my holistically constant internal brain storm.
I have too many writing projects on the go right now. There is a list of nine posted on a peg board over my desk right now – that I almost never look at. So, while engaged in daily chores, I thought – contemplated – meditated and boiled them down to two broad focuses:
1. my experimental writing – the multimedia novel/poetry – they blend together and I cannot bear to abandon either – so I will combine them into a single maelstrom
2. my textbooks -[for lack of a better word] – I have two on the go right now which are related but not enough to do as one – so until the end of May I will focus on the one: The Religions of the World book for Northern Blue Publishing. This blends into the second point above, The Reality Distortion Field, as I have ordered myself to have it ready on iBooks Author by May 31. Then… I will focus on my Religion & Society in the Atlantic World book – also for iBooks Author – no deadlines there yet as it will require international travel for research and that is something which will require a major test for the Reality Distortion Field
These two focuses must be engaged within The Reality Distortion Field because I have certain personal duties of care which take up presently about 75% of my waking day and my ‘day job’ as instructor – so, I have perhaps two hours a day to devote to the above….
From an article about Steve Jobs
Even as Apple became corporate, Jobs asserted his rebel and counterculture streak in its ads, as if to proclaim that he was still a hacker and a hippie at heart. The famous “1984” ad showed a renegade woman outrunning the thought police to sling a sledgehammer at the screen of an Orwellian Big Brother. And when he returned to Apple, Jobs helped write the text for the “Think Different” ads: “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes…” If there was any doubt that, consciously or not, he was describing himself, he dispelled it with the last lines: “While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”
Even when he was dying, Jobs set his sights on disrupting more industries. He had a vision for turning textbooks into artistic creations that anyone with a Mac could fashion and craft—something that Apple announced in January 2012.
By: Walter Isaacson, the CEO of the Aspen Institute, is the author of Steve Jobs and of biographies of Henry Kissinger, Benjamin Franklin, and Albert Einstein.