I think I’ve fallen off the bandwagon. Lately I’ve been so pressed for time that writing has taken a backseat to everything else. This is not good.
I’ve considered things like daily page goals, or word count goals, but generally I feel that with writing nonfiction, trying to work toward a word or page count goal could lead to a bunch of crappy writing. Instead, I’ve tried to write something solid, and if I’m satisfied with the quality, then I’m happy with the progress. However, I suspect that I’ll never get done if I keep this system going.
Perhaps there is a happy medium that I’m not seeing. For now, I’ll consider any progress to be good progress.
I ordered a book last week and it arrived on Thursday. I’m almost done with it, and so last night I ordered another one so that I have a new book to start when I finish this one. They’re both business books by Alan Weiss and Marshall Goldsmith. (This is the third book I’ve read by Weiss and the 4th is due to arrive next week) The book I’m writing is nonfiction, and it centers around a philosophy I developed. Reading their books helps me to get my own book done.
I don’t think reading falls into my procrastination trap. I think this is more like research. However, I do find that I get lost in the books, to the extent that I’ve devoured several hundred pages in a few weeks. (I can read fiction much faster; nonfiction requires a different area of my brain, which is why I developed my own personal writing process)
On the one hand, I have tons of new ideas floating around my head. On the other hand, I haven’t done as much writing as I should have.
As it turns out, all of the distraction had a positive effect on the book today. All of a sudden, as soon as I opened my pink notebook and grabbed my pink pen, the words started flowing forth in a torrent of pink ink.
I really think that there is something different that comes with writing nonfiction as opposed to fiction. I was discussing this with an author friend of mine today. He didn’t understand what I was saying when I said that this book is harder than writing a novel, and then I drew the comparison of trying to write a 250+ page essay or research report. That’s essentially what I’m doing. And then he understood.
Oddly, though, I think that taking time to work on fictional pieces and writing articles and working on my blog and posting to Twitter have all helped. There is a subtle shift from fiction to Twitter to my blog to articles to the nonfiction book, and so doing those things together allow my brain to shift gears from fiction to nonfiction.
This isn’t procrastination–this is the writing process!