Monday, July 20, 2009

Inertia

I knew at the outset that the summer would not be nearly as productive as I might have otherwise hoped. With the move in May, and Junebug's arrival in June, much of my energy was already spoken for.

I hoped though, that once July got rolling, I'd have time enough and some energy to return to the pursuits that typically mark my summer labors: particularly reading and writing. I have gotten some reading done: a few plays here and there (I was pleased, for example, to be introduced to the work of Irish playwright Marina Carr), and Terry Galloway's memoir, which will end up informing one of the chapters I'm working on soon.

But the writing has stopped altogether. I got that article out at the end of May, to a positive response, and since then, nothing...I've rehashed the first three sentences of chapter 1 a few times, but I haven't even been able to bring myself to read it. And it MUST. BE. REVISED. by the time classes start in a month.

But you know, trips to the grocery, walks with the baby, naps with the baby, Top Chef Masters on TV, convivial visitors, and more naps with the baby have all kept me firmly ensconced in the family room or the bedroom, or some other room than this one, where my computer is kept.

I need a spark to get going, and honestly, I'm not sure where I shall find one...

6 comments:

Chuck said...

I'm in the same boat, thanks to not having a clear second project lined up and to some changes in my routine, including a new relationship. I'm hoping that I'll be able to focus now, but summer is disappearing quickly.

Dr. Crazy said...

Ok, the first recommendation I have is to set a tiny task for yourself each day. If you keep thinking of that thing as a CHAPTER you will not be able to get up enough steam to work on it. Instead, make a goal like: I'll print out the chapter and read it while the baby sleeps on my chest. It's ok if I don't mark it or anything - I just need to read it. Then the next day, "I'll spend 30 minutes making notes about what I want to do to the chapter." And that's it. And then, on day 3 "I'll read the chapter and actually annotate it."

See what I'm saying? If you think, "Oh, all I need to do is find 30 minutes" it's much less daunting. Also, now is about the time when I like to revise my summer to-do list and take things off of it :)

Horace said...

Good advice, C...Read the draft this morning (and even put some notes on it!) We'll see how much momentum I can generate on this...

profgrrrrl said...

I entirely relate to this post. New babies are such a (good) distraction from work, but the lack of productivity can definitely cause a mild panic.

I've been trying to schedule work time at the same time most days, no excuses and no minor work (answering emails, admin junk, etc.). It does help.

Leaving the house helps me a lot. I tie in treats as an incentive -- like a trip to a cafe and a pastry for putting in a concentrated 2 hours or a new music download from iTunes after a good week of work so I can listen to the new tunes during next week's work sessions.

Good luck!

undine said...

Horace, Chuck, Dr. C, and Profgrrrl are all giving much better advice than I was going to give: take increments of time for your work and relax into the "baby haze" for some of the rest.

pocha23 said...

Belatedly chiming in to say YES on Dr. C's and Profgrrl's suggestions. Super true. A little a day is psychologically so much easier to manage, esp. with a newborn in the house!

And pastry-like incentives? Definitely.