Constriction/restriction. As in “Nevertheless there are moments of deep astriction . . .” from, of all things, last weekend’s lovely article about the National by Julian Tompkin
Today I’m as jittery as one of those old jerky Talking Heads songs. I seem to be throwing out the careful Big Years architecture of my days. It all sounded so logical when I planned for 2018 but of course, nothing ever pans out how you want it to. Because I’m not rising early, because I feel compelled to work on the book’s draft words, I’m shoving aside the exercise component of my daily schedule and I’m working in strange stints.
But here’s the good news. If I sit down and work solid stretches, ignoring emails and FB, every day advances the book. Every and each day. Nothing could be better. Nothing.
1,000 words a day . . . exactly what does that lead to? My project planning these days is so, so vague. In the corporate sector, I’m sure I’d have lost my job. But I’m wary of setting myself completion or publication dates, having broken so many promises in the past. I have some “biggie” goals in the back of my mind but right now, midway through February, I’ll keep them secret.
For now, 2018 is a fog to swim through. As soon as I can see more clearly, I’ll put up some proper, quantifiable aims.
Life quickly mocks plans, or at least that’s my experience. After a handful of sick leave days have stopped exercise, I rise late, thereby ruining my theoretical writing program for the day. Mid-morning, I’m in Ristretto, about to pack up and head home. The plan is to get back jogging in the early afternoon, then do what I can for more work. But I’m working so well, I cry (silently)! So I change tack completely, deciding to work uninterrupted (no Facebook, Andres) until 2:30 PM to secure my “morning hours.” I have a Ristretto flatbread for lunch and this reminds me of sending out for a quick sandwich from the Collins Street office. I wallow in data and words.
Verdict: how wonderful! The equivalent of an ideal morning’s work and 1,400 words. My exercising 90 kms/30 kms/3 targets for the week are in tatters but I had to make a choice and I did and it was the right one.
A lover of rain
So that’s what a thousand words on a page looks like! Counting full weeks, January was five weeks, and over that period I’ve only delivered on my pledge of writing 1,000 words a day about half the time. What’s my average words per day? I’m not sure but maybe 600 (just over two pages). Complicating the analysis is the fact that I had to take six days off, being travel time or sick leave. I’m not delighted with 600 words but judge it as a good start.
To focus on my “1,000 words a day” commitment, I’m trying to put in place some heavy-duty routines, including rising on time (early, early, early!) every day. How often did I do that in January? Strangely enough, I can’t tell, for if I sleep in, I let myself claw back the morning over the afternoon. I recorded 26 successes out of 29, so at the most important level, I have locked in mornings or “call me mornings” nearly every day. Hooray for Andres!
Banning Facebook (and email and the whole shebang) during my mornings? I thought this would be tough but have done it readily each and every day. Guess what? Such a trivial (but no, it’s not) action dramatically increases my work focus, in myriad ways. Of course the penalty is that sometimes I don’t end up getting through my feeds, etc., but hey, no one has punished me for that yet. Another hooray!
In 2016 and 2017 I did poorly at daily planning and monitoring, so this year I’m aiming to do it daily. I know you can use apps, etc., but I’m having great success with a daily handwritten (but I use my Apple Pencil on an iPad) form. How marvellous to efficiently orient and reorient myself!
So . . . this Big Year is working well. I haven’t mentioned the dark side of all this perkiness, a descent into chronic insomnia, but I’ll deal with that when reporting to myself how the other Big Years are going.
Now, Andres, concentrate! The four weeks of February await.
For various reasons, some of them vaguely satisfactory, yesterday I diverted from regular drafting to catching up on an old task. What countries do I need to tell nuclear proliferation stories about? Different authorities on this subject use different lists of such countries.
Actually, this assignment is essential for figuring out how to draft my early chapter(s) on this subject, so no, I’m not really being sidetracked.
Meaning? Make 2018 count!
Meaning? Yesterday I cycled mid-morning because of 39 degrees, queering my work day. Don’t do that again!
A heartwarming photograph from the latest session of the wonderful writing critique group I belong to. I wasn’t the one who spilled the vino, which might surprise those of you who know me well.