Monday, September 24, 2012

Another Week in Writing, days 2/3: What's that that goeth before a fall?

Figures. As soon as I start trumpeting the virtues of daily writing, I miss a day. In my case, it was Sunday: I have yoga class at 8:30, and decided that getting up at 6:30 on a Sunday to work for two hours when I couldn't even eat (eating before intense yoga, especially in the heat, can make you feel a bit oogy) was obscene, so I thought "I'll do it later today."

You can guess what happened to that.

This morning was a new chance to start over.  Got up, made coffee, put some food and a vitamin in me, fumbled around for a bit longer than I should have (damn you, home internet!), then got to work. Nothing new on the actual paper, but I do have another reverse-engineered outline, and I'm starting to feel like something might be emerging from the fog. That alone is worth the 90 minutes this morning.

COMPLETELY UNRELATED UPDATE: thanks to Historiann (via e/j), who posted a link to a new-ish tumblr that translates MLA job ads for you.  Now, if someone would just get on with doing one for AHA ads as well...


Victoria Hay said... point in torturing oneself. Everyone, even us Great Writers of the Western World, needs a break.

Our college once hired a guy to give a presentation on a strategy he'd come up with....I've found it actually works, weirdly enough.

Do not set yourself a specific writing goal: xx number of words, or chapter yy. Instead, set aside a specific, rather short period in which you will work on your project.

"Working on the project" includes research, rereading copy you've already done and strategizing about it, revising and editing, and even just thinking about your subject. And well, actual writing, too.

He suggested starting with 30 minutes a day, four days a week, and not making yourself stick at it any longer than two hours a day. He also recommended taking at least one day off per work week.

He made the point that if you're researching & writing 30 minutes a day (if you demarcate a period as "your time," it's much easier to keep family & friends from interrupting if they know when the period will end), that's one hour and twenty minutes more, each week, than you would have managed otherwise.

I wrote a lengthy book doing this. It worked.

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