Monday, March 16, 2009

You...Me...Training Partners

And I'm going on some more about my day out with the New England Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

So, on Saturday I saw what are becoming my Salon friends--Loree Griffin Burns, Terry Golson, Melissa Stewart, and Dana Meach Rau, for instance, though there are more faces I recognize. This time, though, I also met a new person out in the parking lot, Jo Knowles. (In fact, when we were leaving, I almost hit her in the parking lot. Hey, I said it was just almost.)

Anyway, after a number of us, you know, just sort of mentioned in passing how our obsession with the Internet seems to be a whole lot more powerful than our obsession with our craft, Jo offered a story about how she and another writer who lives on the other side of the country control their wandering minds by checking in with each other off and on each day, setting goals together, and sort of keeping each other honest, so to speak.

Now, I have heard before of writers using this kind of relationship to do the very thing Jo and her friend use it for. However, I often have to hear the same thing a number of times before it registers with me. On Saturday, as soon as Jo explained what she does, I thought, "Training partner."

I will spare you the details of my two-year (more or less) relationship with my taekwondo training partner, Valerie. (Actually, I'm saving it for an essay.) I'll just say that sometimes I understand things much better if I can connect them to something I already know and like. (I have to use metaphors and analogies a lot in order to get along in life.) So while I no longer have my own personal training partner at the dojang, I understand training partners. And it appears that I like training (a term I use loosely, by the way) a whole lot more than I like staying on task at work.

So I'm getting myself a writing training partner. And the writing training partner is going to be this blog. I'm going to be keeping track of my writing statistics here. I'm not doing any goal setting or long-range planning because that's not how I train. I just get up and spend an hour to an hour and a half a day on some random physical activity. That's the way I'm going to manage my writing stats. I'm just going to keep track of the work I'm doing, whatever it is, because it will force me to work enough so that I have something to report that won't humiliate me. I use the term "humiliate" loosely, too.

Some of you may recall that I did something like this a couple of years ago when I was working on the first draft of the book I am still working on. Well, what can I say? Now I'm trying it again. We'll see if it takes this time.

Now, if you're a writer who would like to experiment with a writing training partner, go ahead and post your statistics, whatever they are, in the comments to my posts. I am not a competitive trainer or writer. Be zenny about whatever you have to report.

Today's training report: I revised the next to the last chapter of the ninth draft of the never ending story and got started on the last chapter. While this is rather a lot for me, I must admit that the chapter didn't require the kind of extensive overhaul that, say, the chapter before it did. A chapter that took me at least a week to revise. Also, I didn't allow myself to visit any news sites until afternoon when I was almost finished with the chapter.

4 comments:

Terry Golson said...

Good to see you too. I think that writing peers are essential! Not ready, though, to hold my writing life accountable to anyone in public : ) Aren't you brave! I don't use the internet to procrastinate. Right now it's spring cleaning season. Got the linen closet cleaned out yesterday. At least I feel productive...

gail said...

I've thought of trying to clean instead of going out onto the Internet many times. Cleaning frees your mind for those breakout experiences we were talking about on Saturday. So if, when I'm feeling myself pulled to see what's going on with the Obama family or Wall Street, I could force myself to go clean a toilet or vacuum or wash the windows that haven't been done in years, not only would I be doing productive housework, I'd have a chance of coming up with material, too.

Terry Golson said...

Well, another thing to do is ferry your kids around. I finally came up with the plot I've been working on while driving to and then waiting for my teenager. Makes me worry how productive I'll be when they grow up : )

gail said...

Yes, driving is another excellent creative activity.