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Genesis of a Historical Novel

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

recovering work habits

I'll get in a fast post. The daily routine has changed now that Kimmie has returned to work and we're trying to maintain the virtue of power-walking each day (most days anyway). The doable slot for that is after Kimmie gets home, about 4:20. To go out walking then, I have to do half my daily reading before then, requiring me to start at around 3:00. Well, 3:00 used to be my guideline time for doing a blog-post.

So where have blog-posts gone? It's still up in the air. Right now I'm working this one in between returning home from a haircut (much overdue) and moving on to the ever-loving reading with my tea.

I'm back writing again: keying story-related notes first thing in the dark of morning, over coffee, and moving on, with fear, to the actual drafting of fictional prose in the rest of the morning. The good news for me was that when I reopened chapter 25 to start rejigging it, I was fairly happy with much of what I found there. In fact, I found that a number of ideas I'd gotten lately for improving the chapter were already in there when I looked at it. Yes--I'd forgotten what I'd put in, and thought up the same ideas again as ways of improving the chapter. Friends, that is not an efficient way to do anything. It's a testament to how long the thing has been lying around, not unlike those car-hulks you see in some guys' garages or on their lawns: perpetual "works in progress", where neither the work nor the progress are ever much in evidence.

Still, William James says in his Principles of Psychology that if you simply keep at something during the working hours of each day--that is, make a habit of doing something--your eventual success is virtually certain. So I suppose I have a New Year's resolution after all: to make an appointment with my chapter in progress each day. Yes, to reacquire the not-too-bad work habits that used be marked as "satisfactory" by my teachers on my elementary-school report cards. Lately, to be honest, I think I myself would have checked the "needs improvement" box.


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