Friday, May 30, 2014

Writing at work.

The results of my experiment of writing at work yesterday.

Before I start, I should tell you I couldn't manage to both write and own a store when I first bought the business.  The learning curve was so steep for so long, it just wasn't possible.  And then, when the card bubble popped and then the comic bubble popped (and Pokemon, and Pogs, and Beanie Babies and...) I was in crisis mode and so on and so forth.

I told myself that owning a store was "creative" and that I was getting immediate feedback from my decisions -- unlike writing, which took forever.  (I'd send my manuscripts into the "Void" and try to move on...)

But even when things weren't in start-up or crisis mode, I found it nearly impossible to write.  A single customer every hour or so could break up the thought process so much that I'd have to reboot each time.

I remember early on being in the middle of a scene and looking up at a customer with unfocused eyes and saying, "What?"

I just couldn't live in two worlds at the same time.  The fictional dream would be woken by the needs of the business.

So here's what I've learned.

The technology is enabling.  I just went to my blog space and wrote there, and then transferred it to my manuscript when I got home.

I wrote about 1100 words, which is less than the 2000 words I do when I have the full day to write.  It seems pretty obvious to me that I can't do much writing before work, and that I'm too tired to write after work.

But I think the only reason I got as much done as I did was because I already had a rough idea of what I wanted.  Which means, it came from the fictional dreamflow I had before work. Without the fictional dreamflow, I might not have been even able to start.  I'm also had a couple of years of writing everyday which probably helped.  I can see how it was difficult if not impossible to restart my writing career when I was working full time.

I need that time to cultivate my skittish little creative mind.

Also, yesterday was a slow day, and I dedicated it to only clerking and writing.  Most work days aren't like that.  Most times I have very intensive tasks.

Now the next question:  Was the writing any good?

I felt like I had the rough outline of a chapter, but I didn't fully develop it.  I'm hoping I can fix that today.

I felt like I had an idea for what I wanted to say, but that it came out in a rather clunky way.  So the quality of the writing was maybe C+ or B-.  I'd prefer to write at a minimum B level on the first draft, but there certainly have been times when I've accepted a C+ level to move on. (Fixing it later.)

So -- half the normal production, on a day which was totally cleared to do it, at a lower level than I'd prefer, and probably only possible because I was already in the midst of a fictional dream.

Not impossible, but anything but ideal.

If I totally had to go back to work , I could probably set a goal of 1000 words a day, and then spend my one or two days off trying to fix them.

Rather than stop writing, I'd probably do that.

But it is pretty clear that having several days off to do nothing but writing is much preferable.

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