Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Oh, To Write All Day

Have you ever color-coded your hours in a day? It's shocking to realize how much time you waste.

So I should have plenty of writing time during the day according to my color codes. It sure doesn't seem like it, after a 40-minute conference call this morning and other phone calls and getting my work ready today.

But, I am reading Boice again.

1. Use brief, daily sessions (even 5-10 minutes in the midst of daily schedules) as times for deliberate exercises of revising, annotating, and reorganizing your notes. This time is not usually meant for entering new notes; it is more for noticing and planning.

2. During these brief sessions, experiment with schemes for organizing ideas into diagrams and themes that can become outlines and/or plot lines for manuscripts. Draw actual designs and maps to see how things fit together; use free writing to find out what themes you can express.

3. Make a conscious effort to delay closure in these sessions. Practice patience by spending more times at playful reconfiguring, particularly at times when patterns and themes seem settled upon. Post a sign, like Kafka's that says "Wait."

4. If you get stuck organizing your ideas, work up a second, related project; the cross-transfer of ideas may help unblock you. Or the experience might convince you that the first project is abandonable.

5. Set deadlines for cutoff points where, ready or not, you will go public with your working materials. While you should caution your friends and colleagues that your ideas are still formative, you can legimately ask for useful feedback about what works and doesn't in your schemes. In particular, solicit coments about what you have done well (compliments are valuable) and about what you might do better: Have you missed something? Are you right in suspecting that some ideas aren't fully developed or interconnected at one point or another? Does the organization seem obvious, or involving?

6. If you want to work at the task of collecting on your computer, find someone knowledgeable about software packages (de.lic.ious for Mac/PC, Quicksilver for Mac only, both are free!) that file materials and ease the task of accessing and rearranging them. But at the same time, set firm limits on time invested per day in learning and practicing computer technologies; both software and journal keeping have remarkable potential for engaging writers in habits that become ends in themselves.

I love this!

Keep Moving Forward.

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