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I am posting this as a benchmark, not because I think I'm playing very well yet.  The idea would be post a video every month for a ye...

Thursday, December 19, 2019

A Dirty Secret

The dirty secret of productivity is that you only need an hour a day on writing. It is almost impossible to spend an hour a day writing and not produce 200 words. 200 x 365 equal the length of a scholarly monograph. Since nobody writes a book a year, this means that nobody is doing this all the time, or even a considerable amount.  

Now you don't want to be doing this all the time, only when you want to be writing a book. You need time to do some research on what you are interested in, or simply rest between projects. Some projects won't work out, of course, and life gets in the way.

The secret is consistency; that's why the Seinfeld chain works so well. Two books that took 10 years each to write, I did without the Seinfeld chain. The one that I wrote in a year, well, you know how I did that.

When you wrote yesterday and the day before, and the day before that, then you wake up today full of ideas and you immediately write them down in your book manuscript. If you didn't write in the last month, it will take some time to get back into it. Working through weekends and holidays is easy, because it is just an hour. You never get burned out even; you just live the project all the time.  Taking every Friday and writing seven hours doesn't work, because I can't write for seven hours at a stretch.

It is dumb not to do this during a sabbatical, but it is harder to do, because you aren't at a desk. Writing while teaching is actually brilliant, because the writing fits into the daily schedule of work. '

I am setting an absurd goal: to write the book in 2020 and to learn all 28 of the MC by Mompou and come up with a decent recording of them.  I also want to learn 10 jazz standards to a point where I an improvise on them. Not only that, but those are my only goals for the year. There is nothing else. Later on, I will blog on which standards I want to learn. I've learned that goals should be ambitious yet realistic, and finite in time.


I sometimes view myself as underutilized by the University. I could do so much more. And yet my salary is low too... But instead of focussing on the salary, I need to focus on how my talents can be used, which means looking beyond my employer. I shouldn't worry about the money part of the equation, but on the utilization of talent part. Of course, everything we do in this respect is unpaid labor, or too sporadic. I think I just have to not care, and do more, and see what happens. It can't be bad.

1 comment:

undine said...

Very fine writing inspiration--thank you!