I realized over the weekend that I’ve been struggling for so long with the article I’m writing — or, to be honest, not writing — that it’s (a) now pretty heavily overdue, and (b) threatening to take on the albatross-like status that only things I feel hugely guilty about can take on, a situation that compounds daily, as my guilt prevents me from being able to fully confont the object of my guilt. Etc. So clearly steps must be taken.
I’m now in the second day of a very strict regime, in which I sit down at the computer immediately after performing the necessary morning ablutions and having a little breakfast and caffeine. I am not allowed to fire up the email client. I am not allowed to open a browser window. There are no forms of interactivity available to my computer, for one half hour. For one half hour, I open only the article draft and my notes, and that is all I look at. For one half hour. And I write, something, even if it’s totally placeholder prose that I know won’t make it into the final version, even if it’s just bullet point notes about what comes next.
What I have, after two days of this, is a lot of mangled bullet points and notes for things I’ve got to read and/or recover from old research. It’s not pretty, but there’s a lot of it, and it’s starting to take on a kind of shape. I’m beginning to get interested.
And today was a bit easier than yesterday, I think.
I seem to recall having mentioned something like this a while back, about the relationship between ease and frequency in writing, something about needing to practice daily. It’s probably bad when the need to reread applies to your own ideas, too.