Friday, March 14, 2014

14 march

The semester wears its ways towards the end; I feel weary, deeply weary. Off to the ICFA conference next week. My paper is for the most part written—only a few lines of the conclusion to go. I wrote it, after accumulating notes and scribbles and thoughts for the better part of the semester, in a couple of hard sessions on the 750 Words treadmill. The thing actually works, at least for me. At present I'm on almost a 20-day streak of writing at least 750 words a day, most days well over 1000.

I think it was Jonathan Mayhew who at some point put me onto the notion of the "chain," which he seems to have gotten from somewhere on Seinfeld. I don't know the reference, but this particular "stupid motivational trick" works pretty well for me, with my thankfully rather mild case of OCD. I like continuity: I like knowing that I've read a certain number of books each month, I like knowing that I'm making steady progress thru a long text (re-reading Ulysses at the moment, for instance, three chapters a week), I like making measurements and keeping track of things.

What I write on 750 Words is turning out to be pretty useful, as opposed to what I write in my notebooks, which tends to go unread for many days, weeks, sometimes months after I've jotted it down. (Usually just long enough for me not to be able to make out my own handwriting at crucial points.) Every day, Trollope-wise, I start by re-reading what I wrote the day before. I copy and paste useful passages into a Word document so that I'll have them ready at hand. And then I start in on a new day's page. Happily enough, I often find myself not running out of things to say before I get to 750 words, but running out of time in which to write, having pressed well past the 750 mark.

I think I might be applying this platform to the next two minor writing assignments on my platter. After that, when I start tackling bigger things, who knows?

1 comment:

Michael Peverett said...

Maybe you could use it to churn out a 21st century simulacrum of the works of ruskin or the waverley novels. I imagine it would be great fun to read!