Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Argument Day

Reasons I had a hard time writing today:

1) Within less than 24 hours, I taught three Monkey classes (featuring college student observers, premiere performances by 7-year-olds, and one very confused substitute teacher) AND started the new round of That's Weird, Grandma . . . in which I sang a fast and wordy song . . . that I heard for the first time on Saturday . . . while being carried.

2) After turning in my packet Friday night, I took the weekend off (from writing, not from early-morning Monkey rehearsals), and spent my limited writing time yesterday going over feedback on my packet but failing to fully dive back in. That made today both "back to work day" and the start of a new draft.
A new draft is full of opportunities.
Opportunities to wreck everything.

3) I decided to start my new draft with a blank page, which, while it helps unstick the words that multiple revisions have carved into my brain, also makes me feel the irrational need to "get it right the first time . . . again." Ridiculous.

4) I need to do some outlining and synopsis-ing before I move forward, but that doesn't feel like doing anything because it's not work that's easy to quantify, and I'm too tired to do that, whine, whine, and didn't I start doing that yesterday and not get anywhere, and can I really afford another day where I don't get anywhere?

None of this is helpful. I count it as a success that I spent a good chunk of time in front of my computer in spite of so much negative thinking and wrote 415 new words. I put so much pressure onto every word I wrote, it's amazing anything survived my constant deletions.

Lessons learned:

1) Writing before teaching is a-okay. Writing after teaching is nearly always a fight against sleep. That doesn't mean don't do it, but manage expectations, yes?

2) I will never be perfect. Never ever ever. Ever.
Practice does not make perfect.
That was an evil lie perpetuated by muppets and Math Team.
No one is ever perfect.
I must stop trying.

3) Starting a new draft doesn't mean starting over. It's just another day.

4) All work is work. Even work that's not easy to quantify.

In conclusion:

1) I'm not going to write anymore tonight. It won't be productive. Better to rest and start fresh tomorrow.

2) Tomorrow, I have plenty of time and no teaching. Tomorrow, I will do some outlining and some time-lining.

3) If I write new material, I will do it in one steady stream and tape a thumbtack to my delete key. I may or may not record how many words I wrote here. I haven't yet decided if that's helpful right now or not.

4) Looking back over this post, the thing that strikes me is how eager I am to show that I'm productive, even over the weekend. What's wrong with not working on the weekend?
Last night, I was telling a couple of friends about what I turn in for each packet for school. They were flabbergasted by the amount of work I've been doing.
I MUST acknowledge that what I'm doing is hard, AND within my power. Then I must do some yoga and give myself a break.

P.S. Today was argument day for Barrel of Monkeys. When I asked the children if they knew what important thing was happening on TV tonight, the first class knew about the presidential debate right away. The second class guessed:

1) Hockey

2) Celebrating Columbus Day

3) 90210

4) Halloween

Bonus points for wishful thinking.


A Large Slice of Cake said...

Hey, honey. Don't feel bad about the procras--guess what I'm doing 4 hrs before turning in my packet? Reading your blog! And I wanted to second your thought not to be hard on yourself. A) it sounds like you are very productive, and B) I agree that word count doesn't always match productivity. Outlining, etc., at various stages of the game, have been really important to me, at least. So I hope you can free yourself up to find whatever works for you, regardless of the data the math team might want to accrue. While you're taping things to your keyboard, maybe you can paper over the word-count bar on your screen so you're not so pressured!


Rachel Wilson said...

Sigh. Thanks Jess. Yes. It's time to switch gears a bit. A book is not a forced march.

Jason said...

Thing 1: Does your blog count towards any word count? Because it should. Because it is well-written, thoughtful, and entertaining.

Thing 2: Exellent job with the fast and wordy song! Who would write such a thing...

Rachel Wilson said...

My blog does not count towards my word count -- not a bit. But you are a doll who writes good music!