Friday, January 15, 2010

On Writing

So this week has been totally useless for writing. There's no way that I'm going to be able to make up the amount of pages I wanted to get done this week today. Especially since we're going to the new-to-us natural foods store. We're actually very excited about this. I hope to find some granola element to this town -- but not too granola. I did an internet search and found a meetup list for people doing attachment parenting and other "alternative" stuff. I would totally categorize myself in that camp, especially when it comes to my commitment to organic food and breastfeeding, but we don't do cloth diapers (which they listed as one of their commitments) or much babywearing (mostly because from the get-go Absurdist Tot was very active and it didn't seem safe to have him flopping around in a sling, which wouldn't hold him anyway, though I did walk 10 miles once with him in a Bjorn on a pilgrimage, which I think should prove my alternative cred, but doesn't). So we're like attachment parenting with a practical bent. Why do I think we're not granola enough for them? Sigh.

Anyway, I really did want to write about writing. Since Dr. Crazy was writing about her writing process, I've been thinking about how useless the word counter on the left of my blog is. There are really two phases to my writing. One is freewriting and dialogue. Basically I write a lot of crap for a very long time as I attempt to write through my ideas, figuring out what they are. I outline a bunch of different organizations, usually, because that's usually the hardest part for me, since everything I think seems connected to everything else and I really wish sometimes I could write in a non-linear way (which I know is the promise of hypertext, but I haven't done it). The other part of this is that I research and read related texts, pulling out quotes that are interesting to me and writing in response to them. Then there's the second phase. Way late in my process, I finally figure that I have to put something together and maybe I steal from the actual text of my freewriting and dialogue or maybe not. Often this is a rush job. In the best case scenario, I put something together and then ask a writing group to read it. With the piece I'm working on now (if ignoring it for over a week can actually be said to be "working" and I think it is because I'm "getting some space from it" which counts as working on it, if not actual writing, in my book), there may be no writing group on it, just a frantic click of Send.

Anyway, all this means that word counters are actually only useful when I get to the "putting something together" phase. But I'm writing, really I am, even while I'm doing all the freewriting and researching. I want a way to be able to document that I am writing, just not coming up with stuff for some final word count.

My goal for this quarter is to write 100 pages of crap, which means 10 pages per week, obviously starting next week. I think, unfortunately, that the freewriting has to be counted in this total, though wouldn't it be wonderful to come out of 10 weeks with 3 or 4 articles? Alas, it is not to be. Not for me. But if I wrote 10 pages of crap, even freewriting crap, for the article I'm working on now, I feel sure I'd be quite far on the article by the end of that. Because there really is no rushing my process (I need so much time to mull!), I guess I should just accept it. Just as I have to accept that this week's not included in my goal. Obviously when Absurdist Tot is actually in daycare, I'll be able to get this writing done. Until then, I've got to carve out some time to work. But probably not today. We've got too many things on the docket. And soon, AT needs to have his nap so we can get going.


Sisyphus said...

3 or 4 articles in one 10-week session would be a *lot*. I would be really impressed with getting just one article substantially drafted in that time. And besides, that book I read was titled How to Write Your Journal Article in 12 weeks. See? 12 weeks, and article, singular.

Not to say it's not great to have plans and lists and ambitiousness! Just that sometimes having smaller goals is better.

Earnest English said...

Sis, you're right. I hate reasonable goals! =p

No, I mean totally crappy writing -- more like freewriting. I can really churn out the crap! I should be able to churn out 100 pages of crap. Article stuff? You're right. Probably only one article during my time off. But that is so depressing.

I just ordered that book from Amazon, by the way. I'll let you know how my crap-churning goes!