Wednesday, April 22, 2009
DAY 10: Setting Productivity Goals
Work is producing. Whether it's a page a day or a thousand words, setting a production goal is oddly freeing. Anthony Trollope, one of the great lions of writing discipline, wrote six pages every morning in the hours between five and eight before leaving for work. Rumor has it he adhered so strictly to his routine that if he finished a novel at 7:30, he didn't run out into the English countryside and give a celebratory yell to the local rabbits and foxes, or even toast himself with an extra cup of tea. He took out a clean sheet of paper and began a new novel..
Now I wouldn't go that far, and most days, six pages of day is beyond my creative limit. But I've adapted his method to my own daily goal (three pages) when working on a first draft). It may sound constricting, and it doesn't work at all when polishing a second or third or fifth draft. But for a demanding first the page-every-half- hour challenge keeps the fingers moving so rapidly that there's no opportunity for FEAR or DOUBT, the Deadly Enemies of the creative impulse, to restrain them.
So set a goal that works for you whether it's counted out in words or pages, and train yourself to produce it. Without angst. Without demanding perfection. Without allowing the Deadly Enemies to look over your shoulder, or even enter the room.