Thursday, September 20, 2018

Catching up on the week and some writing inspiration

I'm getting ready for something for which have to get the writing done--have to. I've been paralyzed with anxiety about writing. What worked the other day?

Sit down and time myself like Anthony Trollope. He used to write 250 words every 15 minutes for 3 hours a day, by the clock, before he went to work. Every day. Now, you can say what you want about the quality of Trollope's novels (most of them are pretty good), but you can never deny that they are done. 

So, with the help of this

  1. I wrote down the time in my trusty black notebook, giving myself 25 minutes (a Pomodoro) to write 200 words in Every time I got up from the desk or looked at email, I had to write it down. Pomodoro after pomodoro until the afternoon when I went for a walk. It worked! 
  2. I promised myself when I finished 2000 words for the day I could have chocolate. I didn't get to 2000, and I didn't get chocolate, but I got to 1300, which is more than I would have otherwise. 
  3. Writing before school isn't an option because I get up early and have a long commute, but if I leave at 2:30 the day is still relatively young and I can get some writing done after dinner sometimes. 
Other positive items:

1. Three weeks ago I gave up FB and advice columns, cold turkey, and I don't miss them. FB was making me miserable because everyone was finishing book proposals, book chapters, etc. and I was not. Deciding there was no need to torment myself, I hung a "gone fishin'" sign on the site and haven't been back--ditto for the advice columns.

2. One of my colleagues who never attends any kind of department meeting and is minimally on campus saw me the other day and said, "Where have you been? I haven't seen you around." I said, "right there in the office and around," and I did not strangle her, so victory is mine.

3. I'm really enjoying my classes. 


gwinne said...

I am totally impressed.

I am largely a slow-and-steady writer. There is rarely a day that I don't write something down (even if the something is only a bad draft of a poem in a notebook); but I also rarely do more than 1000 words of anything in a day (this was not true in graduate school when mostly I could write 20 pages in a weekend on a binge...not healthy). When I'm 'productive'--which is not this month!--I do mostly 500-1000 words daily, on a sustained project + editing.

Do tell about 750 words. Why that and not open the word doc, say?

undine said...

gwinne, I wouldn't do this if I weren't under a major anvil about to drop, so to speak. I rarely do 1000 in a day, but the anvil is inching closer to my head daily.

If I open the Word doc, I'm all "this introduction HAS to be fixed" and can't get to the end. 750words gives me a blank page and also a little X at the top of the page if I make the 750 words. Of course, they're terrible words and I'll have to move to Word to get a better draft, but right now I need words, lots of them, or the anvil will drop.

I keep trying other things--blank Word doc, Notepad doc, Scrivener doc--but somehow 750words is working for now.

xykademiqz said...

Ah the "Where have you been? Haven't seen you around" questions. I wouldn't mind them if they were in the sense in which I ask them (Basically, synonymous with "long time, no see") but two of my colleagues this summer actually pressed for information, which pissed me off. I took most of the summer off, a$$hole. I couldn't say that because we can't have time off, it's immoral, it's unthinkable. But fuckfuckfuckfuck.

I wrote a whole short story from word 0 to polished and submitted (and accepted in the anthology) in about 6-7 hours, but that's unusual and I had a deadline I didn't want to miss. I do about 500-1000 words of fiction per day on an average day, but I edit as I go. I can crank out 1000-2000 if it's nonfiction, like a blog post.

gwinne said...

Undine, the blank slate of 750 words makes sense to me.

I also tried scrivener and didn't find it particularly useful.

Best wishes on meeting the deadline!!