Monday, September 29, 2014

Making Progress: Logging the Writing Hours

Photo credit: Nicole R. Zimmerman
Finally--a successful writing (i.e. revising) week! Logging my hours, but also keeping notes on the process, has been a tremendous help in keeping me motivated and focused. The first morning, I committed to a half hour, which turned into one. The second day, I put it off until late evening, and was amazed by how much gets done in a short time. My workload at my freelance job was low so I devoted the entire third day to writing and accomplished quite a bit. Here's a glimpse:

Monday: 1 hour

  • Read through essay on Scrivener
  • Moved parts around to play with structure
  • Took notes on what stands out in terms of themes and scenes
  • Challenge: trying to fit too much in one essay (currently 11,000 words!)
  • Bonus: feels good to start; surprised at strength of the writing

Tuesday: 1.5 hours

  • Took a 2.5-mile morning walk that brought insights about structure, tense and voice
  • Wrote an outline for the structure
  • Started tackling sections of prose
  • Challenge: still sorting out whether one essay or two, and what belongs in which
  • Bonus: it no longer feels insurmountable; I believe in this piece and trust in the process

Wednesday: 7 hours

  • Revised first 2,500 words (3 sections)!
  • Created a rough structure for the rest
  • Challenge: how to prioritize information in each scene, esp. w/ characterization 
  • Bonus: I'm totally immersed now and invested in this piece (hello, insomnia!)

I worked all day Thursday and left town for A Wrinkle in Time in Ashland Friday-Monday, but will bring along a printed version to fiddle with should I feel so inspired between plays and cafes (yes, I'm blogging this ahead of time). I even managed to submit an essay that's currently in circulation to The Missouri Review's Jeffrey E. Smith Editor's Prize (deadline: Oct 1). Look for more on this amazing literary journal, which includes print, digital and audio (including a weekly podcast) later.

In other news, the Review Review just wrote a review of Georgetown Review--that's a lot of review--in which my essay "Double Life" was a 2014 contest finalist. Here's what Christopher Lowe has to say about the winning poem and issue:
In “Savagery,” the winner of this year’s Georgetown Review Prize, Matthew Lippman presents us with a brief, diverse cross-section of humanity...Those lines are striking because they’re invested with both cynicism and hope for the human condition.  There is an acknowledgement of the sadness, pain, and hurt that we inflict – and that are inflicted upon us – but there is also that bewilderment at the possibility that it could be worse, that things aren’t always so dark.  Those counterpoints fuel much of the work in in the Spring 2014 issue of Georgetown Review, an issue that sprawls across 170 pages of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art.

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