Tuesday, 19 January 2016

On Writing #1

I have trouble starting things. Writing essays, going to a club meeting for the first time, you name it. There are also a lot of things I have trouble going back to. Clubs, especially if I didn't feel totally at home the first time. Video games. Most relevantly, my master's thesis, which I'm supposed to be spending at least fifty percent of my time writing. I've just got this psychological barrier that makes Sitting Down And Doing anxiety-inducingly difficult.

Now, about that thesis. I used to think I got my best writing done in the morning. Now, though, my mornings look like this:

  • Wake up
  • Make sure my boyfriend is awake and coming up for breakfast
  • Breakfast
  • Shoo boyfriend out the door so he gets to class on time
  • Read blogs and webcomics and catch up on Youtube subscriptions
Not exactly conducive to paragraph-making. And when I clear all that away, usually after lunch, and sit down and say "okay, now you're going to work on your thesis," I often don't have a good idea of what I want to say about my topic.

That's the bad news. The good news is something I discovered recently, and which a quick scroll through Tumblr confirms is universal: I'm full of ideas while walking from my dorm to my office or the grocery store and back, and right before I fall asleep, and after mindfulness class, and sometimes when I'm in the shower. At all those times, I know exactly what I want to say, at the part of the thesis that is currently on my mind, in nearly-perfectly-formed sentences.

Thank G-d for Google Drive. When that perfect sentence bubbles up out of my subconscious, I can open a document on my smartphone and write it down so it doesn't float away again. I can even edit it so it sounds better, something impossible on even last century's best dictaphones. And once I've gotten everything in my head out onto virtual paper, I can save it to the cloud and forget about it until I have my laptop in front of me again and can just copy and paste it into my thesis and add citations and anything else it needs.

Plato is said to have worried that writing would decrease the power of the human memory as it became more and more popular as an information storage method. I'm not going to tell him he was right or wrong, but I'm glad I have an extra brain in my pocket.

Tell me about your efficient-writing strategies. Maybe some of them will help me finish my thesis on time.