Friday, 26 June 2009

Writing Discipline

On Wednesday, I decided to take up this enchanted fifteen minutes writing scheme. I duly downloaded a timer to measure my fifteen minute writing slot, which prompted me to write about how much I like Ubuntu . I didn't use my timer then, though, since I was still figuring out how it worked. Yesterday should have been my d├ębut, but yesterday I was headachey and tired, so, wisely or unwisely, I gave myself the day off. Thus, I'm beginning today.

Writing that paragraph took me thirteen minutes. I think I'm going to have to learn to write faster if I'm going to make this discipline work. Perhaps not so much to* write faster as to edit less. It only took about three minutes to write most of the first paragraph, but I spent another ten changing my mind about what should come next. I don't think it's wrong to decide what to write by writing it, but I think my habit of changing my mind about what I write does slow me down. Slowing down like that is what means that writing sometimes becomes a real mission.

I love writing, normally. When I get bogged down in trying to figure out whether Bob would say, “Jane, that's crazy,” or, “That's crazy, Jane,” it gets less fun. Forcing myself to just pick one and move on is difficult, but I think I need to learn to do it. It would mean that I could write faster, since those choices are much easier when I'm editing. It would mean I enjoy my writing more too. It still won't be easy.

I suppose that that's why writing for fifteen minutes a day is a discipline, not a game.

*This is where my fifteen minute timer went off. I gave myself another five minutes to finish, since what I had at that stage was somewhat inadequate. Look how much I sped up!

2 comments:

  1. Hey charli! Congrats on your first try and um--I guess I didn't make this clear and thanks for pointing this out.

    YOU CANNOT EDIT IN THAT 15 MINUTES. It's stream of consciousness writing without stopping to think.

    If it is something you wish to publish (which is an okay idea, though you can also think of it as private journal writing) edit it AFTER the 15 minutes is up.

    Again, if you misunderstood the exercise then others did, so next Tuesday I'll return to that idea to clarify it.

    Write without ceasing.

    Happy writing!

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  2. Thanks for explaining that! I think there will have to be some serious editing after the fifteen minutes if I'm going to produce anything publishable, but I'm all for it in the interests of improving my writing.

    It's strange (or maybe not) that for years I've had a personal rule that I may not cross out in my journal. I don't time my journalling, though, I just write myself out, which usually takes longer than fifteen minutes.

    Tomorrow I'll try fifteen minutes without any editing.

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