Writer’s Diary #33 – Emergent structure, or work more; think less

This morning, I did a lot of fiddling and reworking the text of a chapter, looking for it order. I read, printed it out, made tentative edits, and reviewed it. I moved chunks of text around, created an outline, and made changes iteratively. After the morning, I have the beginning of an outline.

I can’t see through the project, but I can begin to feel like I could maybe move through it and begin to make sense of it.

What did I do?

I worked at it from 6:00 am to 9:15 am. I read bits of it but moved them around in an outline. I did some queries and a little programming, but mostly I organized, reorganized, worked, and revised. I had no plan. But I read and edited and outlined and moved and renamed. I had a shower, and remembered a scene, and went and found that, and I started to find some order.

Is it perfect? No. But I can begin to get a sense of the chapter.

Tomorrow, I will keep at it.

Mostly, it feels like a structure is emerging. That’s more than I had on the weekend. It feels great.

Writer’s Diary #21 – Yesterday, a good day. Why?

Yesterday, I had what felt like an unusually good day of writing. So, I want to reflect on what worked. Of course, with an eye on how to repeat it.

Some observations:

  • Writing was the priority. I didn’t schedule writing, nor plan it, nor interrupt it by looking at email, news, or anything else. Instead, I worked on writing projects from about 9:00 to 2:30.
  • Breaks were unscheduled, but regular. I took liberal breaks when I felt like it—went out for coffee, ate lunch, went for a walk. Work chunks were about 50 minutes.
  • Projects were various. I worked on:
    • this writer’s diary;
    • this writer’s diary as a podcast that I might post someday;
    • the fragments for an hour over coffee at the village bakery;
    • the makeshift book for a couple of hours, in three sections, to finish the introduction;
    • exporting the chapter to an EPUB and read it on my iPhone in a hammock;
    • exporting the first 15,000 words of the book and read it on my iPhone lying down.

Then I took a nap. All of this took me until about 2:30 in the afternoon.

Then, and only then, did I do email for an hour and a half to blast through communicating, then review projects in OmniFocus, and then stop at about 5 to talk with my sister-in-law.

Somehow, all day, I managed to feel like I was in a flow state for most of the day.

Time disappeared.

By the end, I was walking on sunshine.

What did I do right to write?

  • I worked on various writing projects.
  • None were longer than about 800 words.
  • I finished them in about an hour.
  • I never tried to push through.
  • There were few interruptions, and when there were, it was because I wanted to go somewhere else or do something else.

Maybe it was luck or serendipity, but I think there was something good about the way I wrote yesterday.

If it was one thing, I’d say it was that I didn’t do the same thing for too long, and each project took about 45 minutes, and then I did something else.