Home again, after four days of traipsing around northern Queensland. Nowhere near as wrecked as I should be, given I just spent four days delivering workshops and travelling, which may well mean the post-teaching/travel exhaustion I’ve come to expect in recent years is another one of those things that connected to the apnoea.
Still, it is good to be home.
I’m putting serious thought, post-trip, into abandoning the computer as a first-draft tool. A few weeks back I made the decision to abandon all digital screens after ten PM, turning off the computer, the television, and my phone a good two hours before I finally went to bed. This started putting a serious crimp in my productivity, but there was no arguing the fact that I was sleeping better and it stopped bad habit of staying up past bedtime in order to mainline a TV series or play a marathon game of Civilization.
Instead of writing, I’d use those two hours to edit print-outs of existing manuscripts and brainstorming ideas for new work, which meant I started digging out notebooks for the first time in ages. And since I carried all those habits with me, when I went away, the notebooks came along for the ride. Since they were easier to use than the computer in airports and such, I’d occasionally dig them out and scribble away in my scratchy handwriting.
Then the fine folks at iWrite in Townsville gave me a seriously pretty notebook as a thank-you for doing the session. We’re talking hand-stitched binding, lovely paper, one of those things that’s a joy to write in. And then today, when I went to Write Club with Meg Vann, I found myself getting bogged down tinkering with things I’d already written instead of moving forward on the projects I was working on. Not exactly unproductively, but noticeable slow.
Well, I thought, that was all kinds of bullshit. And when I got home I hauled out the notebooks I used while travelling, and proceeded to write another ten pages of stuff in half the time I spent at the computer.
I have some theories about why this was easier than typing, and I clear all the work I owe people by the end of this month, so I think I’m going to test my hypothesis by spending September going analogue. All notebooks and pens, all the time, for thirty days, in what’s easily the most disruptive month of the year I have in terms of writing.
If it works – and by works, I mean clears 30,000 words without feeling unnecessarily arduous – then it may be time to look at making a big change to the way I’m writing stuff. If it doesn’t, well, I haven’t really lost much. September is destined to be a pants month for writing anyway