I, as much as anyone, struggle with writing well and on a schedule. So, when I saw a post from In the Medieval Middle entitled Habit, Routine, Writing and Creating, despite the lack of a good Oxford comma, I had to read it.
I was intrigued by the discussion of how the author sustained writing while writing almost all day:
Each morning I would hop on my bike and trace a wide circuit through Cambridge, along the Charles River via the Esplanade, and over to Newbury Street. There I’d lock my bike to a parking meter and sit with my books at a local coffee shop. I’d order a refillable mug and marble pound cake. As I ate breakfast I would pour over whatever writing I’d accomplished the previous day, filling the printout with marginalia (this was long before laptops were affordable). I’d then add as much writing as possible to what I had, attempting to extend the project as far as I could. When fatigue eventually set in, I’d then turn to a book or essay I’d brought with me and read that. Back on my bike around lunch time, home to eat quickly, and then at my computer, typing in whatever changes I’d made to earlier writing and adding to it whatever else I’d penned out afterwards.
This daily routine of bike rides and writing in two locations (coffee shop in the morning, home in the afternoon) sustained me through the most intense period of composing my thesis.
I found my own motivation expressed incredibly succinctly:
Conference papers (and other public talks) are great motivators because, well, who wants to commit an Epic Fail for an audience?
This is something I want to share with graduate students.
Speaking of which:
I had my graduate mentor over for lunch today and, in an amazing match-up, it turns out we have many health-related life experiences that overlap and she wants to write her thesis on science fiction (one of my writing areas). I am so thrilled to feel like we can connect.