Monday, 3 September 2012

First Day of Holiday Writing.

So, for the past two months I've been telling myself that if I were writing full time I would get so much more done. I would have time to read, do my writing, exercise, update my blog, perhaps start one or two others, etc. But realistically I knew there was a good chance I would get even less done than I do now, because now I have to write in my spare time or else it won't get done. However, with a whole day ahead of me, what is one hour of TV, a bit of time surfing the net, going up the street to shop?

Therefore, I decided for the next week I would test out how I go writing full time. The aim is to get the full 10,000 words everyday, as well as updating my blog (and fixing up those weird formatting issues I had in earlier posts, sorry about those), do some exercise everyday, edit my first novel with the recommendations by the reviewer and prepare it to be sent out into the big bad world of publishers.

I took the weekend off entirely from writing, catching up with my mum on Saturday and my best friend on Sunday, as well as reading lots (getting all inspired by 'Unlimited Power' by Anthony Robbins, though his section on nutrition is atrocious! His argument that drinking water does not hydrate the body it just drowns it, instead what we need to do is eat food rich in water is a little difficult to handle. However, his exercises on mental imagery can be quite useful.) and getting some knitting done while listening to podcasts. Went to bed all ready to start today as the first in a week of focused writing. The plan was/is to test out different strategies and methods.

Woke up not quite so focused, but still got myself out of bed at the time I said I would (it was 8.30, but that is pretty good for me on a holiday). I followed some of Robbins' advice on nutrition just to see (he suggests eating nothing but fruit until midday... I made it an hour before making myself some raisin toast as well, but still, it was an attempt), and did my prayers with a bit of meditation chucked in there. I also tried some breathing exercises Robbins' suggested.

I then sat down to write, planning to do a four hour stint (with my usual break every hour). First hour got just under 2,000 words done, and felt like I had no flow. Then had my raisin toast. Second hour felt easier, but still just got under 2,000 words. Probably didn't need anything else to eat, but got some cheese on corn thins just in case. Third hour got cut in half when I realised I needed to go up to parents' because my dad and sister were arriving back from Sydney and we hadn't done father's day yet. So only did half an hour, and got 1,000 done. Then caught the train up to my parents, and had 45 mins when everyone was away from the house to sit down and do some more. Probably could have written on the train, but decided to knit myself into a meditative state. I also walked home from the station, which should have helped. I got around 1,400 words written before my brother came home and I gave up. Admittedly I did then watch two episodes of TV shows, which I could have spent writing instead, but one of the joys of going to my parents' is that I can catch up on some of the TV I miss by not watching any at my place.

I admit that there might have been another slight motivating factor in going up to my parents' place. My little sister and dad drove down my new car for me! My aunt has upgraded, and instead of trading her car in, she instead has donated it to the Poor Writers Foundation (all donations gratefully received!). It is a 2001 Holden Vectra, which has been kept in wonderful condition. It looks fantastic (drives slightly like an old lady, in that you press down the brake and it asks you 'did you say something, deary?') and it is mine, all mine!

Yes, I have had cars in the past: while living in Japan my brother and I had Gloria, who was amazing (he originally had a Skyline bought before I came over, but it died, like totally. So then we got Gloria). During one of my degrees I ended up with Bud, the Toyota Corolla who was older than I was. I eventually gave him to my sister in exchange for her bike because I was living in the inner suburbs... and they both cost about the same. And no, it wasn't even a particularly good bike. When I lived in the UK I had Sven, the Saab. He was very faithful and I loved him as he was the first car I picked and bought for myself. He also traveled all around England and Scotland with me. But for the past two years I've been carless, borrowing or stealing one off siblings or parents when in dire need, and just riding with shopping bags stuffing up my steering the rest of the time. (Riding a bike with full shopping bags off the handle bars is not as easy as it looks, let me tell you).

My new car is also going to let me go to romantic and inspirational spots within a few hours drive of Melbourne to help me in my writing this week. I will also need to go to the less inspiring VicRoads department to get the registration moved over into my name, and probably have to fork out for a roadworthy, new registration, and insurance. But still, can't complain when the car itself is free.

Possible names at the moment are Vikki, Valerie and Vlad (because it's a Vectra). I want it to be Vlad, but I don't know if I'm just trying to make it more masculine than it really is. Maybe I should just accept and embrace its femininity. Will it drive slower if I call it Vikki?

Now that I've written an ode to my new car, let me get back to talking about writing.
Based on today's efforts, the get straight up and start writing gets words on pages, but does not utilise flow very well. The flow sort of kicked in a bit in the second hour, but the first hour was pretty painful. Of course when there isn't a lot of choice, it is much better than nothing. And for anything less than a three hour writing session, doing much more prep would probably be a waste of time.
I'm also not really recommending eating just an apple to get you going in the morning. Mental effort appears to require a bit more input.

The other methods I want to try out:
1. Getting up super early (like around 5am) writing for a few hours, then sleeping in the afternoon, and writing again until late at night.  I used to do this sometimes with essays, because I found at 5 in the morning I had much less to distract me, and it was so early that my mind didn't register it as early, so I didn't feel all that tired, just in a weird focused state. Also, I love afternoon naps, much better than going to sleep at night.
2. Starting like I did today, but going to the gym first.
3. Try the full Flow Method again.

What I'm looking for:
- ease of writing: ability for mind to just fall into the state where you are no longer focused on forming words etc., but your fingers are just racing to keep up with the images that are playing out in your head.
- speed: I'm looking for over 2,000 words an hour.

At the moment speed is very important, because it's taking most of my spare time to meet my targets, so anything I can do to meet my targets faster would be great.

However, on the days that I have off, ease of writing is also a major blessing. Facing four to five hours of just sitting down and writing is much easier if the writing is coming naturally and you can fall into a meditative state.

That's all from me tonight. Will keep you updated with my test results.

Yours,
Buffy. 

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