Oh, joy! I went back into my RSS feeds, in order to come up to speed for blogging, and found this post from Cal Newport about How Novelists Get Work Done. Newport is — to my great interest — always concerned not just with productivity, but especially deep productivity. He thinks a lot about how we get deep work done. I always find him interesting, but sometimes he frustrates me, in that in his definition of deep concentrated work he doesn’t seem to notice just how different different kinds of deep work can be.
In the blog I link to above, he’s thinking about the rituals that some novelists use in order to start working and keep working, and wondering what their techniques can offer him (especially in the attention to physical detail, which he’s been ignoring). Of great interest also are the comments, which come from (mostly) thoughtful readers from many disciplines.
So, anyway. The writers.
I notice that I have different rituals depending on what kind of writing I do. Academic writing I draft directly into the computer, though I work from not only handwritten mindmaps, but also handwritten 3×5 notes. Then I print it out and edit hardcopy. Fiction and poetry, however, I write longhand. With fountain pen. THEN I input it into the computer, and print it out, and edit the hard copy. I cannot write poetry and fiction and creative non-fiction onto the computer.
But I’m blogging directly onto the computer, and I’ll edit on the computer. Same with my ezine. (Sign up for your own biweekly copy here!)
Writers! What are the rituals you observe? Do they work?
Other details from me? Though I often work by throwing notes on the floor, along with books I’m using, I have to start from an organized place. I don’t need total tidiness, but I do need general organizational sanity.
And I need a view. It’s not a distraction. It’s the place I put my eyes when I’m thinking.
Here’s my view these days: there’s so much light outside, my office seems dark. It’s not. But they keep it very shiny here.