Friday, March 5, 2010

For a certain value of getting things done

When I started writing my dissertation, if I wrote 300 words (approximately one typed page) in a day, that was a really good day. A day full of writing. If I wrote that many words, even if I did nothing else, I could go to sleep that night feeling like I had Really Accomplished Something.

You can tell from the set up that I no longer believe this.

The past few days, I have actually done a fairly large number of things. A previously full storage room is almost entirely sorted. Bags and bags of things have gone to the consignment shops. I have secured - and had an extended meeting with - a realtor, and there is now a plan for selling my house. I have done another round of dealing with an Annoying and Ongoing Problem. Food for myself and the various quadrupedal residents of my house has been procured. I revised and submitted a story. I sent out a query letter. I read and took notes on three books of secondary research for my Shakespeare and Sandman project.

And every day (except yesterday, when I finally wrote more) I wrote about 300 words. And every night, when I finally went to bed, I felt like I had accomplished nothing. 300 words no longer feels like getting things done. 

Part of me is glad, because it means I am holding myself to a greater standard of accountability for my writing, which, when it comes down to it, is the most important of my jobs. Part of me wants to sit myself down, and deliver a stern lecture on exhaustion and burnout. I'm aiming for the happy medium.

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