Day 15: Keep Your Eyes On The Road

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


One of the things I've learned about myself over the years is that I tend to be a hare (as in The Tortoise and the Hare) in the way that I go about accomplishing things. 

Let me illustrate: If it's Monday and there are ten things to do by Friday, the reasonable person might do two a day.  Or a go-getter might do seven tasks today, three tomorrow--and have three days to relax.  A procrastinator might wait until late Thursday or mid-day Friday to get all ten tasks done. 

What I tend to do is sprint, then rest.  I may knock out three tasks today.  Rest tomorrow.  Knock out four on Wednesday.  Rest Thursday.  Finish the last three Friday.  Or I may just inexplicably accomplish everything Wednesday afternoon.  It's very mood dependent.

Why is this important, you ask?  Well, when it comes to an endeavor like NaNo, where I should be doing something everyday, I tend to struggle with the routine.  I tend to fight it.  On any given day, I may race ahead, or do nothing at all.

This behavior, of course, has negative knock-on effects.  Coming back to a story after a several day lay off feels much different than after having written 2,000 words that morning.  The daily grind of getting down a certain number of words everyday builds a kind of writing fitness, where things begin to come easier, where the writer (one hopes) begins to think less about the process and more about the content.  When everything is clicking along, the words appear magically on the page without much thinking at all.

So for me, NaNo is a good exercise to try to break my hare-ish habits, at least when it comes to writing.  I'm hoping the routine I'm learning now will stick with me, long after November has ended.

What about you?  What's your approach to staying 'fit' as a writer?  What obstacles do you find you must overcome to be successful? 

4 bolts from the blue:

Agnes said...

Very interesting. I like to get "ahead of myself". I like to get things done as early as I can.

Joshua said...

I was being the tortoise for NaNo until the last few days. I'm afraid the hare needs to be making an appearance. Hopefully tonight!

Ryshia Kennie said...

I try to be a hare but every once in a while the tortoise shows up in the form of too much googling and not enough writing or just too many projects. I find a routine usually shuts the tortoise down - at least most days.

farawayeyes said...

Ha, staying 'fit as a writer'. Most days I'm about to be 'fit' for a straight jacket. Take it from someone who resists fitness at any level, writing everyday does not necessarily make this puppy more fit to write or think. It does give me the outlet I need to let the ideas flow.

This is my first Nano.I know everybody says 'don't edit' just write. I have to edit. I do a lot of wandering around in the woods. If I don't get the crap out of the way, it gets pretty stinky. Some days I get frustrated with all the wandering around, but eventually I find the path and it's so true and clear. The story and plot start rushing out to meet each other like a mountain stream. That's the walk in the woods pay off, literally and figuratively.

Love you line 'the words appear magically on the page without much thinking'. Not for this word junkie. Although a pretty phrase, that sounds more like something Morrison would have said after one of his concerts. OK,maybe in the middle of one of his concerts. I don't think he was ever vertical at the end.

What obstacles do I need to overcome? Me. I'm my biggest obstacle.

I look for your musical encouragement each day and you commentary. It keeps me going. Last night when I went to bed,it was feeling like a CeLo Green kinda day. Today you post Morrison,one of my favorites.

Thanks.

Waddaya wanna say?

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