Bum? So be it.

It’s snowing out today. Snowing, as in there’s a blizzard going through the entire northeastern coast of the US and all NYC schools and universities are closed for the day. It’s a perfect day to stay in and read, write, clean your place, veg around, or whatever you feel like doing, that is if you’re not required to go out to say work, or something like that.

Speaking of work. I’ve been working quite a bit on my dissertation which is expected, as it’s my main focus at the time, and I’ve discovered a whole new way of looking at writing. I had heard writers before speak about their little rituals, and how some of them needed complete silence and seclusion, while authors balanced writing with their other daily tasks. I had always heard that it was best to dedicate oneself to the writing project one was inmersed in, and had always thought how lucky to have the luxery of doing so. As it turns out I do have that luxery this semester, and I’m starting to enjoy the writing process quite a bit. And along the way I’m discovering my little rituals and routines which help me get the juices flowing, the muse awakened and ultimately, the writing done.

I’m surprised there is a lot of reading involved in writing. Especially during a project like a dissertation, in which there is research involved and one needs to know and quote other people’s work and contributions to the field. Sometimes I spend 3 days straight only reading, organizing what I’ve read, highlighting and making notes on the margins. To then finally wake up one day, completely motivated, and sit in front of my computer, still in my PJs and write away.

It’s fascinating to me to discover, almost daily, things that work and things that absolutely don’t. For example, I usually wake up and go directly to my laptop to check emails, read the news, catch up on twitter and some blogs. I do this reading while I have breakfast. After this, when I don’t have to run out, I like going to the gym and get the exercising bit of the day done early on. That allows me to shower after exercising and get ready to tackle anything on the to do list. The thing is, by the time I’m showered and dressed it’s almost close to lunch time, so I tend to do that while I read some more internet stuff, and by the time I realize it the entire morning has passed by and it’s around 1pm. At this point I feel like half the day was wasted.

Recently, I discovered that if I wake up and go straight into work mode first, even if still taking breaks to read fun stuff and eat, I am much more productive. By 5pm I can call it a day and then go to the gym and shower and get dressed and all that fun stuff. I’ve found this plan works best for me, even though I am more of a night person and tend to be most productive then. I still get exercising done, I still get fun stuff in here and there, and the work gets done earlier in the day, freeing up nights to do other things.

The only bad thing about this plan is that I spend entire days in PJs and feel a little bit like a bum. But I guess if the work is getting done and I am being productive, then bum it is, I’m just hoping it will soon be “beach” bum because this snow? It’s pretty, but I could be back in Jamaica right about now.

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4 responses to “Bum? So be it.

  1. I say, put on some lipstick when you get up in the morning. Even in pajamas, that makes me feel a bit more polished.I know. Weird. But try it!

  2. I'm in a very similar situation right now, and I agree, you have to find what works best for you. Some days I can be completely productive at my kitchen table, others, like today, I have to be out of the house (at Starbucks) to get any real writing done. It's weird, but it's good to get to know yourself enough to figure it out. Good for you!

  3. Kate – Good tip, I might just have to try a little lipstick tomorrow. L – True, it is good to know what works, whatever that may be. Glad you're making progress too 🙂

  4. Routines help get more done, as do check lists..I'm bad at both!

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