Saturday, 19 July 2008

Work, in its many shapes and forms.

I talked about reaching the end of the inspirational curve in my last post, I believe, not quite realising how true that prediction would turn out to be. My word counts over May and June have been atrocious (or they feel like they have been), and only July seems to be making up for that slightly. As a student, my writing tended to take precedence over my schoolwork (especially phonetics suffered grievously), and I've always been the first to admit my priorities were very wrong back then.

These days I've got even more priorities (or goals, anyway), so even more of a chance of side-stepping them, and, in effect, responsibilities. Except I don't.

Life may not start after graduation, but it changes, God, it changes. And even if I try to tell my students that studying and doing homework is not that different from work and doing the assignments your boss gives you, I can't pretend it isn't different for me now. I can't show up in front of a class unprepared. (Somehow it's easier to show up prepared and do other things though, maybe because the back-up plan is still in place.) As a student, failure just results in not passing a certain course or class. After graduation, failure has as a possible consequence that you get fired. So first and foremost (and this is probably insecurity as well), I make sure my classes are prepared. The only reason for this to maybe suffer a teeny-tiny bit is when I have a deadline coming up for my doctoral thesis, which apparently ranks higher in my brain of priorities. Fiction-writing, as stated before, suffers.

But today is the first day of my holiday, and between packing and wrapping things up (we’re moving offices after the holiday), last week wasn't as busy as the weeks before (which suddenly turned into unexpected hell), which gave the brain a chance to relax. I'll wrap up some last work-related things this weekend, put all my work-stuff I took home in a bag, and leave it in the corner of the library. I don't think I've ever experienced a holiday in which I could physically, psychologically, put a goal/priority away in a corner. It feels wonderful.

As a result, that inspirational curve? I'm in the steep part of it that goes up. :D

I think I’ve figured out the main (methodological) topics of my thesis, and I have high hopes of having a finished introduction and approach by the end of this month, if not the next, with a chapter 1 that’s more finished than in progress by September. And that’s taking into account my slacking abilities, not even a best-case-scenario.

Fiction-wise, big steps. I’ve got the basic plot for part one pretty much figured out and written, which leaves filling the gaps before I dare and try and expand any subplot. I did a run-through of the entire text for part 1 (108.000 words, thankyouverymuch) last week and think that even if much of it still needs work, there’s two parts in there that are really, really good. Small steps should get me a good way towards a finished first draft. Going to Cambridge is going to really help towards getting part two fleshed out. (Though seriously, it’s research for sequels.)

Yeah, I know, don’t tell me. Too much sleep is bad for me. :P

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