So my plan was to take time off on the holiday season to restart my project of turning my PhD into a book. But I also wanted to play. I had this wonderful vision of getting up early (about 6) and with a cup of coffee knocking off a quick blog entry as a sort of warm-up lap. Then, work on the book for about three hours, before spending an hour on one of my other writing projects. Then maybe an hour of reading for yet another project followed by a good work-out and lunch. Then my wife and I could binge-watch away the afternoon and evening. I’d do some other reading, and maybe play computer games (I always say I will, but never do.)
It was a good plan. Frankly, it is how I would live my life if I could (but I have a day job – bills gotta get paid).
Anyway it didn’t work. On many days stuff came up – errands had to be run or other details of life had to be addressed. Some of my other writing projects would not stay within their allotted times. Also, I don’t like going to be early and getting up early. I know I need to, but it just goes against my preferences and habits.
But the biggest issue was that when I was writing, I wasn’t necessarily writing. I was inspired to write this stuff by Van Jackson’s journal of his quest to crank out a book in six months. It was comforting to know that I wasn’t the only one who isn’t always writing when he is writing. Some of this is necessary, some is procrastination.
(Next entry on how that sometimes goes awry.)
Still, I did the math. Consistent production of 500 words a day (six days a week – I don’t work on Saturdays) would be a book, a half-dozen long articles, and about 20 op-eds a year. For sheer writing time, that should only be an hour and a half a day. Nothing. Granted, you also need time for editing and reading – but you should be able to find that in the other 5-9 hours of your work day. It all seems so simple, but it is so hard to do.
|The quarry – yet another writing metaphor
Anyway, the VP book isn’t writing, it’s almost all editing (with a dose of updating) so word count is not the right metric of progress. Still, I broke the seal. The project got started. The juices began to simmer. I began to see how the chapters needed to be reworked from dissertation to book. I began to see how to turn them from a series of proofs to a story and what kinds of materials I would need to connect things up. Lots of different metaphors for writing here.
Unfortunately, I may have to put this on a back burner yet again – for now. (More in a future entry.) Now, on this snowy day, to attack a real and immediate writing project.