Monday, January 22, 2007

Procrastination - or Method?

Word Count: 21,686

It's been a weekend of domesticity and fixing things, thanks to boyf's very handy friend: new shelves, un-wonked table, no-longer-wobbly footstool, that kind of thing. When they're in full-on DIY mode I have to escape, which I did by going back to the WIP.

I am trying to establish my self-employed working routine at the moment. Even though I've been fully freelance for nearly six months now (is that possible? Bloody hell), those months were dominated by a novel I'd started while I was still a full-timer and as a result I never quite felt in control of the timings and the writing and so on.

That's why the novel race is proving good, because it's forcing me to get stuck in. But I could still achieve SO much more if I wasn't constantly flicking over to my email or checking the entirely meaningless amazon rating or, worst of all, self-googling. This has to be the digital age's equivalent to masturbation (hang on, though, the digital age is the biggest enabler of masturbation, hmmm), except it NEVER satisfies.

I am trying to make a pact with myself to stop self-googling, because I never believe the nice stuff, and the bad stuff interferes with my productivity. I can edit like crazy, but I will never change my world-view or my fundamental writing style, so what possible benefit could there be to discovering someone on a website somewhere I've never been thinks I am too long-winded or boring?

So far, so obvious. But the other stuff I waste time on- the messageboards, the blogs, Gofugyourself - is less clear cut. Isn't this just my watercooler time, the freelancer's safety valve against such crazed overwork that you lose all touch with the outside world?

I can't see myself entirely breaking the habit, but I have taken some baby steps. One involved buying a cheap, tiny 2nd hand laptop from eBay which just about fits in my handbag but will never be attached to the internet. I'm trying to do my 1,000 plus words on that and though it's irritating spending ages using memory sticks to transfer the MS all the time, it DOES seem quite effective and allows me to focus on the book rather than checking my email all the time.

I'm also going to set some targets. So this week they are:
  • Get to 25,000 words (should be easy enough as I got some done at the weekend)
  • Try working from bed with new computer (should be fun!)
  • Stop self-googling (should have done it years ago)
  • Operate a working hours/tea break system whereby I work on mini-computer in blocks, and then nip up to main computer for web-surf burst.

Now, this last one might be going too far: after all, surely the niggly negatives of freelance life (doing your own tax, paying for your own heating and bog roll, no-one will pay you if you're ill) are only outweighed by the utter freedom to do precisely what you choose.

But the trouble with utter freedom is that it totally screws your work/life balance: I can no longer tell work and life apart.

So it's time to pull myself back from the slippery slope and make a distinction. Time to GO TO WORK. See you later!

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Blogger liz fenwick said...

Kate, were you doing mind reading this morning? Must stop all this net time, must focus......great word count though - you are putting us all to shame!

10:45 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OH how glad I am that someone else wastes their time procrastinating on the internet - although it has to be said what better way than on Gofugyourself, it provides such welcome relief from the day to day pandering to celebrities we usually see!
Keep up the good work Kate

11:15 am  
Blogger Helen said...

Hi Kate. I would love to take part in The Great Novel Race. I have read your Brown Owl book and enyoyed it which then led me to your web page - then your blog page. I am tring to be a writer myself and the Race would be a great way of keeping my motivation going (and not feeling like I am on my own in the world as I try and tap out the words). I have created a blog this morning (in addition to tapping out 1000 words. See it's working already!) I have also emailed you via your website so apologies if you think I'm flooding you with emails.

May I join in?


12:56 pm  
Blogger The Moon Topples said...

Kate: In my continued struggle to find ways to distract myself from working on my novel, I have elected to host a short fiction contest over on my page.

If any of the racers think they might like a short diversion, I'd be delighted to see them enter the contest. Rules were posted today, and the contest starts February 1st.

Glad to see you so productive.

5:53 am  

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