Monday, December 14, 2009

Getting the Job Done (Mysti Version)

I recently co-taught a workshop called "Finish That Book: Passion and Productivity for Writers," in which we proposed a structured way to find and utilize spare time in your day for the writing process.

I've had to re-think that based on something my friend Mysti Berry said yesterday. She's taken up writing before work, a time-tested practice of novelists with day jobs. But Mysti's closing in on wrapping up the first draft and she had this to say:

"It's so much easier to write every day than to TORTURE myself about not writing."

I think that pretty much summarizes the best way to get the job done: Make the alternatives so unappealing that writing becomes the least of all evils.

If you have to choose between writing and heating up the leftover lasagna and getting a pedicure, well, it's pretty clear what's going to win.

But how about if your to-do list includes: clean grime from sliding door tracks, update insurance paperwork, and return passive-aggressive relative's phone call?

Hmmm, then the writing becomes several factors more appealing.

And it works best of all if you are a guilt-driven person as I, and apparently Mysti, are. Self-torment of the "you suck, you didn't get the job done" variety is always worse than just writing the f'ing words.

5 comments:

cathryngrant said...

Great inspiration Sophie & Mysti. Sliding door tracks, writing ... I know which one wins!

Cornelia Read said...

Can I lay my head down on the tracks and slide the door back and forth over it a couple of times?

Excellent inspiration, S & M! (heh.)

Sophie Littlefield said...

hey sisters - how about we all three of us leave the sliding door tracks to fester in their own yuck? clean's overrated.

Steve said...

I would like to second what Anonymous said. Right on, Brother! Testify!

-Steve

Sophie Littlefield said...

ahhh, i have been getting spammed - my brother says i got hit with some japanese porn. it kinda amuses me to think of these guys back-and-forthing on my humble little blog, but when it got up to almost 50 comments on one post i figured maybe it had gone too far. still, i'm too lazy to moderate...