I’m feeling fuzzy headed. I will stream-of-consciousness my way through the MIND FOG and try to get to that first tentative step where I can actually do something constructive. >>> Continue reading
Yesterday’s theory that I had to tackle the least pleasant tasks first (the so-called “eat that frog” approach) was put into action this morning, albeit with less immediate enthusiasm. I found it difficult to wake up this morning, which I suspect was due to a lack of enthusiasm by my subconscious lizard brain. “Sleep, sleep!” my body insisted. I didn’t sleep well the night before, tossing and turning to find the optimum combination of pillows to feel comfortable. I finally moved to the futon couch, and this was oddly more comfortable.
I let the alarm buzz through for two hours, only sitting up when I realized it had stopped buzzing. I also realized that I hate buzzer mode, and like to wake up to radio mode in the morning these days, as it gets the brain primed with enough thoughts to kickstart the body into action. Though I suppose it might also plant DISTRACTIONS too. Oh well.
Out of bed by 900AM, I went downstairs and did a very abbreviated 15M startup. It only took about 5 minutes to review yesterday’s notes and decide on what to do, so the rest of the tie I took the most unpleasant of tasks and started to plod through it. Once started, the task was no longer unpleasant as I flowed into problem solving mode. Again, it’s amazing at how much resistance builds up.
I think the resistance breaks because when I’m thinking of doing a task, I am thinking of how I would rather be doing something else, like work on new notebooks or designs. My resistances are born of impatience and a desire to have immediate results, but the work I must do is not compatible with those impulses. Basically, I’m thinking like a manager instead of a problem solver or a creative.
So, I fight the negative reactions by either attacking the early in the day when I am at my energy peak, or I try to enter a zen-like NO EMOTION state so I can mechanically just get going. Once past the initial barriers, my mind is engaged with the problem and the resistance is gone. Perhaps there’s a way to skip the resistance and move directly into problem solving mode. One way to do that is to drop the expectations of results that I have, and shift to learning. Allow myself the time to wander through a problem and try some stuff, rather than feel under the gun to spend as little time doing research so I can jump right into production. It’s going to take the same amount of time if I do fun research first, indulging my desire to structure information and set things up for efficient production, compared to just jumping into it and discovering that I have to redo the work over again anyway. My expectations, though, are really set by the manager mindset, which is a form of gaslighting.
I’m starting to wander here, so I’ll try to pull it together:
The resistance I feel to starting unpleasant tasks are due to negative emotions and the desire to do something else. Or resentment at having to do the task at all for little perceived gain in the near term. I just want the thing done. However, resentment fades once I get into the actual problem solving. Then, it’s interesting because I’m no longer thinking I have to meet some kind of arbitrary expectation on speed of delivery.
In other words, I tend to have a manager’s mindset when it comes to looking at tasks in the FUTURE, judging them on several criteria: estimated time, cost in resources, and the emphasis on ASAP. This is a dumb attitude to have for my own projects, especially if there are many unknown factors.
Instead of having a manager mindset, perhaps I could reduce the resistance by adopting the creator or explorer mindset in approaching all tasks. Spend time exploring the problem in search of a solution. It usually doesn’t take more than an hour to get to a good ballpark estimate. And it’s OK if the first approach doesn’t work in my book. If you’re doing something new for the first time, estimates are basically guesses. It’s only after the process is formalized can you make GOOD estimates based on prior work logs. But I digress…the main point is that dropping the ASAP mindset would be good for reducing the initial resistance. Everything can be a fun puzzle instead of a drag on my time. It’s entirely a question of having the right mindset, and not letting people gaslight you into thinking you’re not doing it right.
With that in mind, tomorrow is going to be more of the same:
- Content Review!
- Learning New Coding Concepts!
I’ll try to keep the mindset of exploration at the forefront, and trust that the problems will get solved along the way.
Related SOC Posts
Today went a little better than yesterday. I got about 8 hours worth of “work” tasks done, but I didn’t prioritize them according to difficulty. My morning was spent working on my own projects, writing a blog post and doing some WordPress theme hacking for about 6 hours. After that, I ran some errands and went to the gym for an hour of medium-level cardio (I got sucked into an episode of What Not to Wear and wanted to see how it ended). So I was at the 8 hour mark when I tried to get into doing some coding for another project, but it was for naught I was hungry, thirsty, tired from both physical and mental exertion. I mostly fell in to Happy Bubble Time by default, doing research on full-text search engine solutions, reading articles about trends in realtime game environments, and watching videos of Lindsay Ellis…that girl can talk! I also cooked some dinner (spare ribs with an experimental curry-based rub) and did my bills for the week (always a huge pain), and this pretty much used up my all my resolve for the day. Until I actually counted up all the hours of what I did, I was wondering why I had done so little It turns out that I did a significant amount of work. However, as I said before, I should have prioritized them differently.
The biggest resistance I feel right now is to a particular coding project that involves rewriting someone else’s code. I got about 15 minutes into it around 8PM, choosing a very specific task: find a file, convert it to the appropriate format, and figure out where to save it. This was far too late in the day. Tomorrow I am queuing it up first-thing so it gets some love. I am a reluctant programmer that is finicky about development process, As I’ve mentioned in other articles, programming for me feels likes being trapped myself in a tiny box, turning a crank for an indeterminate amount of time before something good pops out. It’s no wonder that my lizard brain / Stupid Head wants to avoid it.
Knowing that, it would make sense to do these code projects first thing but for one problem: I am also determined to prioritize my own projects as much if not more than other people’s projects. I know it sounds terrible, but as a small business owner that wants to grow a business I have to be very aware of what MY needs are, and treat the preciously. I have seen so many small businesses that have the desire to do something great for their own destiny, but they treat their internal projects as “would be nice” because it’s easier to punt them and work on something that brings in money NOW than speculatively sometime in the future. As a result, these companies never grow.
That said, there’s a BALANCE that must be maintained. The balance doesn’t have to be equal every day, though. In my original plan for the week, I wanted to split the time equally EVERY DAY between my projects and other people’s projects, like getting three square meals in a day, every day. Today, however, shows that I have to be careful about which project goes first, or at least be prepared to handle the consequences. Tomorrow I rebalance.
Related SOC Posts
Day 2 of my routine for the rest of this month started just after noon, when I awakened with a start. I’d slept far longer than I’d planned, though admittedly this was perhaps due to insomnia. I just could not fall asleep, and resorted to watching an episode of Iron Chef America Season 8 on Amazon Prime. I was also a little sore from the first day of going back to the gym, so perhaps that had something to do with it.
Though I was already feeling very behind schedule, I stuck to the general morning algorithm: take quick shower, feed cats, ignore email, and start a 15-minute push to clarify what I was doing. I spent about half the time reviewing what I wrote the previous day, refining it and breaking out the interesting bits into a list of 26 ways I felt resistance, which could be summed up as, I don’t WANNA do it! because It’s boring / I don’t have everything I need in one place / I am bad at it. The list has a few other nuances, so I’m not going to write it up here, but it’s an interesting line of inquiry. It’s been helping me move past most of my conscious resistances.
But alas, today was not a day where my resistances were conscious. It was one of those days where my mind wandered and just didn’t focus sharply on any one task. My mistake, in hindsight, was not to just pick something to do and do it. Instead, my attention wandered without any conscious control or purpose. I had one conference call via Skype, which lasted for almost two hours, and then after that I ate something and that was that.
I did manage to get a few things done:
I rebuilt a sub-irrigation planter, layered it with potting mix and tarp, and transplanted a tomoato plant into it. I found all the hose hardware and snaked it from the basement spigot up to the deck, hammering supports into place to keep the hose off the ground. This had been a large task in my mind, but it got done.
I attended, for the first time ever, a Chinese language group meetup. I had been nervous about going, and I accidentally almost caused an accident when I didn’t see a car in my blind spot, but the meetup itself was informative and got me thinking about how to once and for all become fluent in Chinese. In the past, I have been highly self-conscious about my terrible pronunciation, but with all my recent review of “fears, anxieties, and their names” I knew that it really wasn’t an issue. Go and make mistakes, and be merry!
I didn’t make it to the gym, though. Maybe Monday-Wednesday-Friday is OK to do this first week. I’m going to have to go to sleep at a reasonable time, too, so I’m finishing up the day with this blog post and have set the alarm to go off at 8AM.
Tomorrow, I want to set some specific to-dos with concrete deliverables. No more than three tasks. I feel some twinge of resistance as I type that…it’s the feeling that I’m setting myself up for failure, and that I’ll fall short. Though it isn’t JUST that…there’s a little bit of fear of being trapped or stuck doing something that I don’t want to do. It doesn’t entirely make sense to me, and I don’t think I am capturing the feeling accurately in words. It seems to be triggered by any promise I make that involves locking myself down to do something that I don’t particularly want to do. Though it’s funny…I haven’t even picked the tasks, and I’m still feeling the negative reaction. My subconscious is automatically associating “have to do” with “this sucks” even if I get to pick the tasks. Fascinating.
Related SOC Posts
Monday was the first official day of “being back at work”. I started it off by adhering to my 15M ritual, though I woke up pretty late. No matter! It’s the sticking-to and the first-action-of-the-day-ness that matters! I also ate a little bit of protein, some rare roast beef I had made the night before, to fortify my system until lunch.
Sitting down to write, I thought of three things I wanted to get done:
- Rewrite the copy on the home page of davidseah.com so it was less wishy-washy.
- Get going on some client website maintenance work.
- Go to the gym
I got all of them done. I attribute the success to maintaining a good attitude, which I managed to trick myself into action by doing the following:
When I thought of something to do, I considered why I shouldn’t do something about it at that moment.
When I felt resistance or negative reactions arise, I wrote them down as best as I could to understand what the feeling was or was coming from. I then asked myself if they were really important. It turns out that I just dislike having to gather, hunt, remember, calculate, sequence, or organize anything because it takes time. And why does this bother me? The best I can figure is that it seems like a waste of time, and I just want to get things over with without having to think about it. However, I couldn’t think of why this should stop me from doing what I had to do, other than wanting to be pissy.
Having determined that my resistances were coming from a petulant place, I then chose to put them out of my head. It was like ignoring someone who is whining about having to work. I just moved my hands, because it was the thing to do. Sure, I didn’t particularly enjoy having to search for a list of ancient passwords or remember how a particular website worked, but I accepted the chore as necessary. An interesting side effect was that I regathered the material in a form that would be more efficient to use in the future, with everything I needed to know in one password-protected spreadsheet along with any workings notes. That felt good to do, and this helped lift my spirits. Efficiency!
Another interesting realization of the day was that the three tasks provided scaffolding for related tasks. As I performed the work on them, I opportunistically took care of other tasks along the way. For example, going to the gym entailed driving near the supermarket. I remembered that there was a tomato plant there that had looked sad and unloved, so I bought it. I then drove to Home Depot for some potting mix, and saw that the other tomato hybrids were available. I got everything home, and over the course of the day I found the missing bits of the gardening kit. I didn’t get everything potted, but I made significant progress and that felt good. It wasn’t even on the list!
As it was the first day, this was more of a light assessment day than a real push to get a lot of work done. I’ve been very gentle with myself when it comes to demanding high levels of productivity. Stuff got done, I was in a good mood, and I maintained a sense of continuity from the previous weekend’s writing. So far, so good.
Tomorrow I am going to revisit the same 15M writing I did in the morning about my daily plan. I’m going to read what I wrote yesterday, then rewrite it for today (first saving a copy).
Related SOC Posts
Mother’s Day is a day of regret for me, as I didn’t take the time to get to know my Mom when she was still alive. She died in 1992, and to cope with her passing and the growing realization that I’ve been a self-centered boob up to that moment I made a vow: I would try to live according to her best qualities. Mom was kind, creative, and generous. She accepted situations and mistakes as learning experiences. She was intelligent and supportive, and a dedicated educator. It was only in hindsight, as I recalled various stories from my friends and relatives, that I realized that these qualities had been there for my edification, but I’d never appreciated them. This makes me incredibly sad; by passing her values forward, I try to be a better son and a better person.
Although the memory is painful, I try not to beat myself up over it. I was a very sensitive kid, I realize now, and living in a foreign country (Taiwan) was more stressful for me than I think I knew at the time. I lived in a kind of protective bubble where I didn’t have to feel like I was a stranger in a strange land, where I could tune-out everything else and be by myself. It just occurred to me, as I type on my iPad in my empty house, that I’m still living in that bubble. I’ve punched a few new holes in it, but the feeling of being an outsider has never really gone away; communication with people outside the bubble remains muffled and distant. On the other hand, the bubble may have been just part of my personality, not a reaction to the environment. I share a personality profile with the so-called INFP type, and as youths we’re a really moody bunch. A different personality in the same situation might have reached out and enjoyed the strangeness of Asia, living a more vibrant life. That certainly wasn’t me!
But I digress; the point is that I try to be as my mother would be, and though our interests and approaches to life are different, I think the core desire to…well, I’m not sure what that shared desire is. Mom cared about me in a way that I never returned as an adult, and I think what I’m trying to do is care about people in the same way. Not judging, but supporting. With generosity. Because it’s the right thing to do, and it puts positive energy into the world. I learned these lessons too late to share them with Mom, to appreciate her love and return it in kind. So I keep trying, in other venues and in aspects of my work, to keep that spirit alive. I can only hope that Mom would have approved. I think we would have had a good time talking about it.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! I miss you so much.
Last night I slept in my own bedroom for the first time in months. Prior to Dad’s visit in April, I had been using it as a store room for 20 years of assorted toys, vintage computers, and piles of old clothing. I moved it all downstairs to the basement and bought a new futon couch/bed so Dad’s foster son could be in the same room, moved the main bed, and got the room turned into a real place where one could rest. With my newly-cleaned laptop keyboard, I’m finding it rather comforting to just sit on the futon couch and write.
Today I am doing a 24-hour fast as part of a physical reset, which I will break tomorrow morning. I’m only going to drink water and maybe some tea, then have a nice breakfast somewhere in downtown Nashua or at the Airport Cafe. I’ve read here and there than 24-hour fasts every other days seem to have positive health benefits in rats. I’ve done them before, and found the sensation of being hungry to heighten my senses. It also forces me to do something other than snack while building anticipation for the next day. I suppose it might also be another way to develop discipline by deferring reward, a meme that has been making the rounds in business and parenting circles. I hate waiting for anything, but apparently the ability to do this is strongly correlated with success. But really, I just feel like fasting today.
Yesterday I declared that I was starting a new two-week sprint focusing on 3 main goals + Happy Bubble Time. I can’t remember exactly what they are, so let me take a look…ah yes, they break down as follows:
- Improving the Blog – Finding Content Collections, Form Descriptions, and Producing an Improvement Every Day
- Client Projects
- Daily Gym Habit
- Happy Bubble Time
If you’re not familiar with Happy Bubble Time, it is the pursuit of interest in a singular, stress-free manner. The basic approach is to make a “bubble of time” where I don’t have to worry about other stuff, and allow myself to play. This is harder than it sounds, since I’m accustomed to thinking about entire projects and their constituent components at once. It’s a good way to freak myself out, and it’s a terrible mindset to have when one is trying to be creative, a vestige of having come in through art as an engineer/manager instead of through play.
Since both my 715AM Morning Ritual and Wave ritiuals are in hiatus, I have decided to use the Stream of Consciousness Journal (SOC) the new outlet. As I mentioned yesterday, I seem to function better if I’m writing about what I’m doing. I also like sharing these thoughts, as it forces me to think about what I’m writing and I’m always curious if something will come back. That’s part of the fun of sharing what you do: seeing what comes back. It’s almost always a surprise.
I’m going to incorporate a few elements from the Ritual and the Wave into my SOC journal entries:
- It’s the first thing I do in the morning, and I do it every day to maintain continuity. This is one of the best parts of the Ritual.
- I write as if I’m writing to a friend, which is a takeaway from the Wave and also from my earliest years of blogging.
As for daily scheduling, I haven’t thought yet about what that will be. I feel the urge to make a decision and stick to it, but instead I’m going to run an experiment for the day and note what I do. I woke up at 830 without the alarm going off, and it’s now 900AM.
I’m not quite sure what I should do, and this is creating mental friction. I appear to associate the feeling of uncertainty with the fear of being trapped by something not-fun. Not-fun is either something I’m being forced to do based on someone else’s expectations and desires, or it’s being responsible for delivering something that I don’t yet know how to do.
Fortunately, I have methods for coping with this anxiety. First I have just named the fears, and this allows me to tame the lizard brain with a rational mind. Next, I know that writing helps me through uncertainty, and that daily continuity helps with progress. I actually have a text file where I maintain daily continuity on projects, and I merely need to remember that.
The biggest unknown, which I can look at now without the underlying sense of dread that I had in the previous paragraph, is what specifically I should do. Or rather, can do, as there is no “should”; no good comes from gaslighting myself through another anonymous boogeyman’s expectations. Rather than plan everything out, I think that I can apply a time-blocking approach to each of my four daily goals. Actually, “goals” might be an overstatement; “activity playtimes” is more like it. Goal implies a set of measurable achievements with corresponding benefits, whereas “Activity Playtime” more accurately implies time spent without those expectations. From past experience, I know that allowing myself to engage in such playtime eventually leads to more concrete planning later. I just need to play with the goals for now so I can gather the information I need to both materially and emotionally understand the nature of the work. Then, I can do more formal structuring if it’s needed.
For today, it’s just activity playtime.
It’s now 2:52PM, and I have been spending HBT reviewing some old Apple II circuit reference manuals. I never really learned how to apply any practical hardware building knowledge when I studied computer engineering, because I had moved into software and then design. Reviewing the Apple II stuff now is a way of picking off where I left off.
Anyway, I also wrote some posts on the main blog detailing the thought process behind this new push. I wrote down a process and listed a few tools that I would use. However, these tools are accessible only from a computer. What do I use for offline notekeeping? A paper notebook? My iPad? Right now I’m updating this posting through the WordPress app, using an external bluetooth keyboard so typing isn’t painful. I need a PHYSICAL KIT to go along with the SOFTWARE KIT..
I also figured out a way to tape post-it pads to my door that works pretty well. It might be worth a blog post in itself.
The past eight weeks have been draining, beginning with the difficult push on my website redesign and yearly tax preparation. I also had to flip the house upside down, moving everything in the upstairs bedrooms (a lot of junk) into the basement, and then fixing the rooms up to accommodate four extra people and 1 extra cat for 17 days. Today is the first day that I don’t have any looming deadlines since the beginning of the year.
I thought I would start off the day by diving right into some project work, but instead I felt a tremendous desire to sleep in. This happens to be the first rainy day I’ve seen in 17 days, too; the entire time that Dad was visiting with his foster son had been bizarrely sunny, without the usual mud that accompanies the typical New England spring. I managed to strip the sheets from the beds upstairs, falling asleep on the futon couch only once, and get them to the laundry room. THat has so far been the highlight of my day, and I’ve decided to not beat myself up over my lack of productivity. This is a day I need to myself, I think.
Still, I feel the desire to do a bit of writing. I know from experience that when I take the time to write, my thoughts become clearer and I gain a renewed sense of purpose. I haven’t been writing for myself at all for many weeks, other than the occasional mandatory blog post. Writing is the driver of my thoughts and actions; if I don’t write, I don’t do anything. Writing is the way I can productively spend time alone.
Now that I’m a few minutes into the writing, I can see that I’m feeling some resistance to doing work. I’m also feeling kind of blah about my goals; maybe some stream-of-consciousness writing will help me figure it out.
Unpacking Small Resistances
I’ve been thinking that I haven’t been writing on my website as often as I should for an odd reason: I don’t feel like I can write anytime or anything as I used to be. I also realized that I didn’t particularly enjoy writing at my desk. I like sitting somewhere else with my laptop and just letting the words come out. Or at least I used to. The Stream of Consciousness blog is intended for this; I have to get over the feeling that I should be making Epic Content and allow the words to flow.
I’ve also been avoiding my laptop because I’ve found the experience of using it rather unpleasant. This may be a resistance factor also. I’ve just reinstalled MacOS X on it fresh, with a newly-partioned hard drive, in an effort to get it to run at a reasonable speed. Previously, I had used my laptop primarily in Windows 7 through bootcamp, as I wasn’t ready to make the switch from PC to Mac. It didn’t help that Mac OS X ran universally slower than Windows 7 for the things I wanted to do, and that I didn’t have a Macintosh license for Adobe Creative Suite. Now that I’m on the Creative Cloud, this is no longer and issue, and so I am making the effort to use Mac OS X as the main operating system on this laptop.
Since reinstalling Mountain Lion, I’ve gotten a bit more used to Mac OS X, and I think this is helping lower my resistance to booting it. Next, I have noted that I am not enjoying the typing feel of this keyboard. I hadn’t really noticed that it was creating a tactile feeling that I was subconsciously reacting to. I just hit it with some windows and paper towels, scrubbing down each individual key. While they still feel kind of gross compared to my $150 desktop keyboards, they are now tolerable. Small improvements like this are incredibly important to me. Call me fussy.
The next small resistance is the act of writing itself. Lately I’ve not been enjoying the writing activity inside WordPress, because browser windows feel impermanent to me. It doesn’t help that the browser editing experience is awkward. Scrolling up and down requires that I have clicked in the right window to activate the right set of controls, and I find this aggravating. I’m not a big fan of the distractionless writing mode in WordPress either. Not sure why. So today, I’m writing this blog post in Sublime Text 2 as I sit on my couch. I’ve expanded the size of the font several times, and it feels quite comfortable now. I’ll copy/paste this into WordPress later.
Unpacking the Big Nuts
Now that the small silly resistances have been dealt with, I feel that I can start to piece together a new routine for the next two weeks. I have some immediate client work to take care of, but I can simultaneously start to address the big nuts that I wrote about in my recent post on Groundhog Days Resolutions plus a few more:
- Content Audit / Continual Website Improvements
- Form Organization & Explanatory Materials
- Index Card Blocks
- Making Products Every Day
- Game Programming
- 3D Modelling
- Music Composition
- Learning Chinese
- International Fulfillment
- Going Back to the Gym
This is a lot, so I need to structure my approach so I am not overwhelmed by everything at once. It’s easy to make a big list and think the solution is tobe more efficient and disciplined. That is a high-stress and energy-intensive solution, and I would rather avoid it. Instead, I’m going to designate Content Auditing, Forms, and Making Products Every Day as my main “job”. This will be accompanied by another chunk of client projects or reader requests. The last chunk will be going to the gym; everything else will fall into place as “Happy Bubble Time”, which is my unstructured exploration time. I’m going to place extremely low minimal times on each of the three chunks: 15 minutes! From past experience I know that this is enough to get moving, and I’ll likely do more than 15 minutes. I’ll try this for a week, starting next week for certain. I may start the routine as a practice run tomorrow (Thursday, May 9) just to get a feeling for it.
The schedule may seem extremely light, but I am not interested in packing my days overly full. My theory is that if I keep the minimums low, I will actually be more productive than if I try to schedule more. When I’m working with other people in a leadership role, a challenge list is more exciting because the team is also the audience, and I am fascinated by interpersonal dynamics. When I’m working by myself, however, I find a big challenge depressing because it takes a lot of effort to discover then build what is needed, and there is no audience to report to.
Which makes me think that this is why I’m thinking of taking up the daily blogging again; I like solving problems and trying things out with a group, and this is one way of doing it.
We’ll see what tomorrow brings!
I have been spending an average of 90 minutes a day on Nanowrimo, producing an average of 1500 words per hour. 1500 not-really-good words, that is. On November 19th, I passed the 50,000 word milestone, which means I’m comfortably ahead of schedule. Although I was originally tempted to wrap everything up quickly and take the rest of the month off, I thought that I should maintain the daily writing habit. While the main point was to do 50,000 words by any means necessary, I think it’s also important to hew to the Daily Commitment Toward One’s Goal.
Here’s a summary of what I’ve learned so far:
Characters and plot points are a kind of Holy Work. Since I had done none of that preparation before starting, I have had to do without a strong basis to start from. Having a good idea of the characters and plot points ahead of time would have helped.
Clever turns of phrase, stylish description, and sharp dialogue also falls under the province of Holy Work, but I think that they, like angels, are best employed in reflecting the characters and plot points. So instead of trying to wring stylishness from my writing, I settled for whatever came out. This helped produce raw word count rapidly, but it will have to be carefully sifted for gold.
Despite my lack of preparation and style, I found that just having an Idea was enough to start. One Idea leads to another, and to another, and when you get stuck it’s easy to toss out a “what if” or a “what would” question and write one’s way into it. The process reminded me of the logic of dreams, where the rules of continuity are suspended and imagery just flows into the theater of one’s mind. This produces a lot of plot holes, but like with my dreams I have come away with an insight or two that can be used in new construction. I’ve let myself leap and bury and not worry about continuity too much. The leaping is what’s important, as I sample my own well of experiences and associations to draw out the dots from which I might connect lines in the semblance of a real story.
And so, the creative process rocks on. For me, the mental dust devils swirl their way into tangential ravines, throwing me from my original trains of thought into whirlpools of confusion. The daily nature of the writing, however, forces me to resurface and find something to cling to, so I can do it all again. The real picture starts to build itself from these repeated dunkings and emergent experiences. To be an artist is to embrace that.
I’m still doing it. Here’s the observations I’ve made:
I’ve had a busy weekend, but have kept to the main goal of keeping a daily writing schedule. The weekend saw the visiting of my sister and her entourage, which put a hiccup into Sunday’s writing (managing only 600 words before midnight), but I have been able to make it up for the past two days and am now once again ahead.
My lack of preparation before starting NaNoWriMo is still taking its toll, largely in telling a cohesive and consistent story; this is definitely a first pass word dump, not a refined document. However, as wooden as the dialog and description is, I am starting to see certain themes that will be useful in fleshing out a second draft.
Theory: It seems that a complete exchange of ideas between characters takes me, on average, around 1500-2500 words. That suggests to me that there are 30-50 complete ideas to be conveyed to fill 50,000 words of a novel. A general book outline might then fit on an entire page, describing each idea/premise, and how they follow each other as the book unfolds.
So far, this has been an utterly solo affair. I haven’t talked to another wrimo since attending that first meeting, and I’m finding that this isn’t bothering me. The writing is a personal affair, and just knowing that other people are going through this at the same time is enough for me to feel a sense of connection. I should attend a write-in sometime though to see what it’s like. Perhaps it is actually a lot of fun.