This should be Day 5 of my new regime, but I have factored in a hiatus today: my Occasional Other Half (OOH) is coming tonight and my cupboard is bare, so I must go and do some shopping, and a cursory clean of the house is probably in order too. But otherwise, the routine (6.15 start, 500 words before shower, 3k words a day) has got off to a pretty good start. My goal, taking weekends and odd days off into account, is a 120k draft by 6th August.
I played my usual psychological trick on myself and was 2k words in before I started, so only had to write 1k to reach Monday’s target, and was then ahead on Tuesday’s and so on. I aimed to have 15k finished by the end of today, and in fact have 17k under my belt – although I have to admit that I’ve been able to cannibalise more than I expected from my Shitty First Draft.
This meant that I got sloppy yesterday, and wasted most of the morning trying to sort out holiday dates and when I should launch Time’s Echo, neither of which were on my schedule. When I confessed to this on Facebook, my friend Isabel posted a new app designed to put an end to this kind of procrastination. Write or Die is designed, apparently, to put the prod back into productivity. The prospect of a noise going off the moment I stopped typing would probably work for me, but am not sure I could handle the stress of it!
The app is clearly based on the same principle employed by my cousin’s husband when I spent a few months in Australia in the early 1990s. They would go out to work, while I stayed home and wrote, and I was set up on their computer in the office. The first day I sat down and typed CHAPTER ONE and then, as is my wont, paused for a moment. Thirty seconds later, the screen saver popped up: BACK TO WORK SLACK BITCH! It was the first I knew that (a) you could customise a screensaver, and (b) that you could change how soon it appeared – and, actually, it did the trick. I did get back to work – once I’d finished laughing.
I’m not sure there will ever be a realistic cure for procrastination. As long as writers write, we will be checking our emails, filing our nails, posting on Facebook, making cups of coffee, remembering that we really must send that birthday card/clean the oven/find that obscure reference. I squeeze the words out with the help of frequent little rewards, but the only thing that really makes me settle down and write is an imminent deadline. Who needs an app when you’ve got adrenaline?
Have a good weekend, everyone, and may it be sunnier and more productive than mine is set to be!