Here are some of the things I've learned lately (though a few are ideas I've touched on before):
- I'm way more productive when I require myself to write a certain amount of pages each day instead of a certain amount of time. This may not be true for everyone, but it totally is for me.
- E-mail is a huge distraction! Cutting e-mail out until my work is done each day makes me more efficient. I realize this isn't possible for people who receive work-related emails, but it's a luxury I'm taking advantage of right now. Confession: I got weak today and didn't wait. I'll forgive myself and start fresh tomorrow. Aren't I kind?
- Keeping good revision notes instead of revising as I go will make me more productive. I realize from comments to past posts that I'm a little different from many of you because I turn chapters in to my critique group as I write the first draft. I used to revise before writing the next chapters, combing details through my pages. With this manuscript, I quit doing that because I'm focusing on pushing forward faster. I plan to finish the draft, edit in the revisions based on the initial feedback, then set it aside to let it breathe/chill/ferment/whatever-you-want-to-call-it-that-we-do-to-get-fresh-eyes-and-insight-before-the-next-level-of-revisions-begins. Since I'm a perfectionist, this is a big deal, though it doesn't feel as big as it did a month ago.
- I think I love the people at Starbucks for creating so many fabulous ways to drink caffeine. D + S = TLA (Dawn + Starbucks = True Love Always)
- Even though I intellectually embraced Anne Lamott's "sh**ty first draft" philosophy long ago, I have to repeatedly give myself permission to suck during the first draft. Samuel Park wrote a great post on first drafts that everyone should read.
- Days off are extra sweet when you've been working your asterisks off. We had a blast last weekend! Here are pics of a sea gull's nest my son spotted from the ferry. I've lived near the water my whole life, but I don't remember ever seeing a sea gull's nest.
*I had "she," but my husband said, "How do you know that's a she? It may be a stay-at-home dad."
How about you? What have you learned lately?