Friday, May 23, 2014

UM Progress Report: Troubleshooting

Work on Ubermadchen is moving forward, but slowly. It's my fault: the first half of May was AP season, and I took that as an excuse to contract senioritis. Luckily I have since recovered from that life-threatening illness, and am prepared to examine what is going wrong, what I need to fix.

One major issue is that I'm a lot more easily distracted now than I have been in the past. The boredom of having multiple classes in which I do a whole lot of nothing all day has bred in me the habit of checking my phone a lot. Heck, I even find myself checking Facebook first thing in the morning, which I never used to do.

This is not good and the best solution I can think of is to enforce time not spent on the phone/the problematic sites. One of my mottoes junior year was that "self-control is the highest virtue" and I haven't been living up to that lately.

Another issue, more localized, is that I didn't do enough worldbuilding for UM, so I have to make up a lot of stuff as I go along, but that stuff has to be consistent (more or less) with eighteenth-century Europe. I'm trying to keep within shouting distance of fact, which means that I need to do more research.

This at least I can take concrete steps to address. I got a book about Eighteenth-Century Science from a library book sale for 50 cents, so I'll start by reading that. Then, I'm collecting research and inspiration on the Ubermadchen tumblr, and keeping things cross-referenced.

A third issue, which emerges from the two described previously, is that I haven't been carving out time to sit down and work on the story dedicatedly. Legit authors will tell you that you need to be able to find the odd pockets of time in the day to write, and I do need to get better at utilizing those spaces, but I really prefer to be able to sit down with the story, go over what I wrote in previous sessions, and then sink into the work.

Why don't I just do that, then? The problem is that I sit down to write, and then realize that I need to know something that I don't know. So I go off to research it, and get distracted by something else, and lose track of what I wanted to know, and end up with 200 words after an hour. I usually don't know I need to know something until I hit that point in the writing, which makes it more difficult to create a system in which I write one day and research the next, or some similar combination.

I always make plans, run into problems, then have to make new plans. This is good. This is iteration, and I embrace it. So here are the edits I'm going to make to my process:

  • Put distracting sites on Stayfocusd blocked list
  • Log onto Facebook only at set times during the day
  • Read broadly on research topics during non-writing time
  • Research focused specifics as needed during writing time
  • Schedule earlier and longer blocks of writing time

Let's see how this goes.

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