Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Lost Line

This morning I woke up with one line of a song going around and around my head. It wouldn't leave. It drove me crazy for the first two hours of my day.

Then the line suddenly inspired an idea for a blog post. I thought, "Hey, I should write that down so that I don't forget it." But, since I was in a hurry, I didn't write it down.

Fast-forward one hour. In the car, driving to school, I reached over and switched the radio on. Suddenly, without warning, the line was gone. I couldn't, for the life of me, remember what it was.

Lesson #1: Write it down. Otherwise, you'll forget it.

Lesson #2: Sometimes creativity dies a hard death at the end of a long road of wasted toil and sweat. But sometimes creativity dies just because someone failed to write something down.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

This Petty Pace

We're reading Eustace Diamonds by Anthony Trollope in one of my classes right now. Great book, by the way.

As my professor cheerily rattled off information about Trollope in class, it slowly dawned on me that Trollope puts most of us to shame. The man was a writing machine. He pumped out words and pages and novels using a rigorous and merciless system that makes my best efforts at time-management look like a 3rd-grader driving a oil-tanker.

According to his autobiography*, he wrote 250 words every 15 minutes for 2.5 hours a day, producing 2500 words (or 10 pages). That's 70 pages a week. Or 2100 pages a month, if you prefer to think of it that way. Ultimately, he wrote 47 novels using this system. Are you feeling inferior yet? I am. I don't even think I read at the pace at which Trollope wrote.

It gets better. He did all of this in addition to holding a full-time job. And computers didn't exist. So he did all of this writing by hand. Suddenly my enormous research papers whose deadlines are looming looked small and insignificant. Trollope could write more in 15 minutes by hand than most of us can write in an hour on a computer. Did I mention that he also had a full-time job?

I'm not quite sure what to do with all of this terrifying information yet, but I'm thoroughly intimidated. And I've come to a couple conclusions:
  1. I could be far, far more productive than I am.
  2. In the time that I spend procrastinating every day, Trollope wrote about 1000 words.
  3. In the time that I spend on Facebook every day, he wrote another 1000 words.
  4. I'm inspired to enact some kind of routine for both reading and writing this summer.
  5. I will never procrastinate on a research project again.
  6. All of the above are true except #5.
*Trollope, Anthony. An Autobiography of Anthony Trollope. New York: Dodd, Meade, and Co., 1922.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Planning for Summer

The cold, never-ending winter changed overnight into the glorious warmth of early summer. With the fading of the cold, though, my motivation to accomplish anything constructive disappeared as well. It's far more interesting to plan for the summer months ahead than to actually complete all of the grading and research that looms between me and the middle of May.

So here are some of the things I'd like to do this summer:

  • Read. I'm working on a summer reading list. Any suggestions?
  • Write. I'd like to keep developing this blog. There's some other hazy, undefined projects floating around in my head at the moment, too. A girl can plan, can't she?
  • Bake. This is the summer that I will learn to bake French Bread. I've been promising my mom that I would learn for years and it just needs to happen. Soon. Before Mom despairs entirely of my domestic capabilities.

So what are your goals for the summer months ahead?