Jim King observed the following in his first week with his faculty scholarly publishing group:
Completing my assignment, reading the first four chapters of Paul Silvia’s How to Write a Lot, I see that his techniques apply to the effort to tame any unstructured, creative or extracurricular activity. In fact, I applied his planning advice, inadvertently, to get those four chapters read. Not a huge task, but one that had to be fit into the available nooks and crannies of available time.
Silvia’s writing is fun to read and so I imagine fun to write. When I can take the liberty, and when I am not otherwise foiled by my subject matter, I also try to make my writing fun – and in so doing, make it better (I hope) more readable and more memorable but most important, more prolific. I get charged up when I am having fun writing. But it is sometime difficult to see the line between “fun” and “glib”, or worse “self indulgent”; and I find I have to get pretty ruthless as my own editor, throwing out the otherwise beloved “cutecisms” and distracting parentheticals; which makes me wonder about what I’m writing now. Silvia belies his own statement, though – writing is not necessarily like repairing a sewer or running a mortuary.
Curiously, my writing topic – “Alternative Workplace Solutions: Coworking and Consolidation” – is focused on the ability (technically, socially, organizationally, spatially) to work anywhere, anytime, through laptop immersion and the suspension of peripheral perception, with all tools and resources available at a series of keystrokes; and without the necessity of an established workplace or “large blocks of time” Silvia mentions. Certainly, there are minimum “dive-times” (immersion process), but it’s not necessarily a long weekend – it can be as brief as a 2-hour airport layover. But, back to Silvia and the challenges he lays down (specious barriers, in some cases) –
- Cannot find the time (I allotted the time to read the four chapters) – GUILTY
- Binge writing (or binge anything) – BIG TIME GUILTY
- Waiting till a large block of time can be “found” – EXTREMELY GUILTY
- Failing to schedule – GUILTY
- Allowing e-mail distractions – GUILTY
- Getting set up, with the right space & equipment, first – GUILTY
- Not in the mood – GUILTY
- Setting too many goals – GUILTY
- Not setting any goals – GUILTY
- Failing to schedule time to think – GUILTY
- Neglecting to monitor, measure and so improve my productivity – GUILTY
- Writers Block – NOT GUILTY
- Complaining – GUILTY
Perhaps this is just one more “distracting parenthetical”, but I can’t not include my favorite Silvia quote: “The best kind of self control is to avoid situations that require self control.” I see why you suggested this book. It really is helpful; and chapter four leads to your group. Thanks Carole.