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08/05/2012

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Marcus Arvan

David: good stuff.

I agree with the point about rejections. One must get used to rejections. They always sting a bit, but everyone I know who's been successful has told me the same thing: send out lots of stuff. Yes, you'll get lots of rejections (9 out of 10 on average!)...but that 1 out of 10 will be a publication, and it's the 1 out of 10 that shows up on your CV.

I also agree wit the point about work/life balance. Writing is important, but don't let it take over your life. It's important to partition your life. For me, writing time is Monday-Friday, daytime hours when I'm not teaching. All other times are for my wife, dog, family, and friends.

Finally, I have to differ a bit on the "allotting time" suggestion. If one allots 5 hours a day to writing, what happens if you spend that 5 hours going in circles? Answer: frustration...and frustration doesn't lend itself to productivity. The single best piece of writing advice I ever received was consistent productivity requires a positive attitude every day, and a positive attitude is produced by accomplishing small goals every day -- for example, a set number of pages a day (say, 5). Anyway, I've found that it works. Set a daily page goal. Don't stop until you meet it. As soon as you meet it, stop. You'll wake up every day with a positive attitude, because every day you'll have gotten something done.

Mark Alfano

Nice post, David. I also find that having (too) many projects going simultaneously helps. I'm one of those structured procrastinators (http://www.structuredprocrastination.com/) who's pretty good about doing the third or fourth thing on my to-do list in a timely fashion.

David Morrow

Marcus,

Silvia also likes goal-setting. I think he would be okay with your approach as long as you scheduled time to achieve those goals--e.g., by saying "At 3:00 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I'm going to sit down and write 500 words, no matter how long that takes me." I think this would still count as "allocating time" rather than "finding time." I agree that what really matters is maintaining momentum and avoiding what Silvia calls "binge writing."

Mark,

I'm procrastinating right now!

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