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12 to Midnight

Writing Discipline

07.30.08 | Comment?

Google Reader is a productivity savior and sinkhole all in one. I’m subscribed to “only” 90 RSS feeds, which Google tells me has resulted in 3,403 news items read in the last 30 days. I never could have read all of those posts if I had visited all 90 sites, so in that regard Google Reader has been a great time saver. On the other hand, without Google Reader I probably wouldn’t have even tried.

Last week I was on vacation, and ever since returning I’ve found it difficult to reengage my writing discipline. The last few days when I get to the computer, I find myself pulling up Google Reader to check out some post that I’d meant to check out sometime in the past. I’ve made more progress from jotting down notes using ink and paper than by pulling up my wordprocessor. I think it’s time for a change.

Of course, part of the problem is simply that I’m avoiding ugly work. I’m working on plot, and my mind is as disorganized as my notes. Consquently, it’s easier to put it off and catch up in Google Reader than tackle the creative cleaning job ahead of me. Now that I’ve faced up to facts though, hopefully I can re-apply some discipline. I’ll start by taking on the hardest part– straightening out my plot. Once I have an outline I can live with, going back and writing out the individual sections shouldn’t be anywhere nearly so intimidating.

On a broad level, I already have the plot all worked out. I know where it begins and where it ends. I know the antagonists. I have the motivations. Now I’m working out the “mid-level” view. When I’m done working out the tangles in my plot threads, I’ll have an outline that weaves those threads into a cohesive, coherant whole. After that outline is done, the actual plot point adventures will pretty much write themselves.

Your job is to help me find my lost discipline. Leave comments on this post. E-mail me. IM me. Call me. Pester me for reports on how the writing is going. Help me make writing a habit again… and keep me away from Google Reader!

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