Diving back in (Day 82)


man_diving_into_sea colourised

Kicked off writing and work in 2014 by spending the morning at the British Library co-writing one of the spin-off projects with an old colleague/friend from Melrose days (the first production company I worked for). I came home and finished the draft we had been working on, useful but something of the displacement activity about it. The prospect of coming back to When Sparks Fly post-holidays was strangely intimidating. Finally I dived in, beginning my 2nd draft by looping back to the beginning, the Ginsberg/Literature chapter. It was better than I expected, more polished and well structured, slightly surprising only because of the non-linear and fluid way it was written. I hope the rest is up to the same standard as I revisit it.

At the end of the day I stumbled across a blog post via some random email – one of those meant to be things – which reassured me by showing how common such feelings of intimidation are. It’s by an American writer called  Caroline McGraw:

I changed my habit of working on “scary” writing projects sporadically. Now, when I’m working on a big creative writing project — a book, a proposal, a guest post, etc — I work on it every day. With the exception of 1 weekly day of rest, I make sure to do at least a little bit each morning.

I love (and often repeat) the Anthony Trollope line: “A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the efforts of a spasmodic Hercules.” Committing to a daily task helps me maintain momentum, and it also helps render the task less terrifying. (If I work on it every day, it simply CAN’T be that scary — it’s just part of my routine, after all!)

I’ve also noticed that, if I skip a day, it’s that much harder to get back to the habit. And if I skip yet another day, it’s as though Mt. Everest springs up between me and getting back on track. If I write every day, though, the barrier between me and good habits is more like a pastoral English countryside hill. Like something out of a Jane Austen novel, a rise that Elizabeth Bennett could scale without breaking a sweat.

dived in submerged in bubbles

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