Apr. 12th, 2017

peartreealley: (travel)
Good morning darlings,

Although I'm a creature who craves routine, I'm no stranger to disruption. I've been aiming to get more resilient, to not let my creative life (or just my life in general) go off the rails when I hit a bump. But like the first snow after a year or years; the first disruption after a long while is unpracticed. I forget what to do, how not to slip, how to return to business as usual.

April is a month full of disruptions. They're all the lovely sort--a long weekend for a games convention in Edinburgh, this coming week we have a beloved American friend coming to stay with us for a few days and an event in Oxford, and after that another event in the Peaks District.

And yet. And yet.

When I built my ambitious April writing calendar (it's Camp NaNoWriMo, so I was being extra ambitious) I marked out all of the days. I knew which days would not be writing days. I knew there'd be a lot more of them than usual.

I didn't take into account the recovery days. The time to pull myself back into the story, to regain my stillness to bring the narrative voice back in my head. How on Monday I was home, yes, but shattered, and although I did force myself to the keyboard, I didn't keep any of it.

Tuesday went slightly better, as I put my toe into the water. I wrote story beats, and prepared myself for the days ahead.

Today--well, today I'm hoping to make up for lost time. And I'm also thinking about the rest of this month (and all of the disruptions that come after that). I'm trying to accept I'm not a failure because I'm not a word factory that can crank out on demand (this is hard, very hard). But I'm also trying to be more resilient, to recover more quickly because while I may not be a factory, I am most happy when I am prolific and immersed.

Well, I suppose we're forever works in progress....

x
peartreealley: (Default)
This morning, I set out a goal to hunker down in my newly cleaned studio for 3 hours (or, six 25/5 minute dashes, Internet blocked) and bust through 5k words on the new novel.*

The result? I passed 6k with 10 minutes to spare. At which point I was at a transition, so I stopped.

The how? Determination to catch up after not having added to the draft after a few days, and that I spent most of yesterday writing story beats for the next several scenes.

The lesson? Apply what I already know--I work well in sprints and when I know where I'm going.

The folly? Whenever I have a day like this, my mind goes wild with what if I could do this every day? But experience has taught me that I can't sustain much more than 3k a day without paying for it the next day (and sometimes days).

The ambition? Use what I already know, and build up my stamina. It's not that I want to write 5k every day, but it would sure be nice to know that I could. Note that it's an ambition, not a goal. I'd like to be able to do it, especially when chaos happens and deadlines are pinching. I don't want it to be more important than my goal of "writing good stories."**

*In Deep Work, Newport calls these "Rooseveltian Dashes" which is a bit lengthy to explain the name, but basically it's setting a goal and giving yourself just slightly less time than you think you need to accomplish it--thus forcing you to work with blistering intensity and unable to entertain distractions if you want to meet your goal.

**Which, of course, is not to say that stories written quickly are not good. By most people's metrics, I'm already a fast writer. It's more than I don't want the number to be more important than writing the story.

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