March 25th, 2004

Fishy Circumstances

Writing and Productivity

Whether or not a given day of work feels productive is highly subject. Take Tuesday. On Tuesday, I did five loads of laundry, backed up my hard drive, did a major operating system upgrade, wrote two and a half pages of dissertation, and made a new LJ icon. I didn't feel unproductive, but because I'd been half-hoping I could finish editing that entire chapter, despite the fact I accomplished far more than I normally do in a day, it didn't feel entirely productive. I even wrote an above average amount and quality, and still, it didn't meet my higher-than-they-should-have-been expectations, and thus I couldn't check the item off of my to-do list I most wanted to.

From all I've read on the subject, writing two good pages a day is generally a pretty good rate, whether fiction or footnoted. On a bad day, I'll write less. On a good day, I can write two pages in an hour and produce a few more before the day is done. Those days are rare, especially now that I'm in revision and edit mode, expanding and improving on a chapter draft I turned in the better part of a year ago. I've learned a great deal more about the material since submitting the draft, so there's a fair amount of writing involved in this particular bit of revision. That's why it's not just an editorial run through the chapter, and why it keeps taking longer than I want it to. I want it done! I've missed an informal deadline for submitting this chapter, and yet, I've been more productive, in terms of quantity and quality of output, in the past few weeks, working on this same chapter, than I have been in a very, very long time. I'm accomplishing a great deal. i'm just not accomplishing enough. That's part of why I'm struggling to set realistic goals for myself, goals I can accomplish in a day, and, as a consequence, feel well and truly productive at the end of it.