Last year, I set up a number of milestones: 100,000 words, 200,000 words, 250,000 words, and then finally 280,000 words. As each one passed, I’d pause for a day or two, then be like…hmm…and set up another little countdown-meter in my writing spreadsheet and go back to work. This came to kind of a high point in November and December when the only day in which I didn’t write was my birthday.
I imagine that this year will be much the same. However, January is my optimal time to preemptively slack off on any calendar-based productivity deadlines I might make, so I’ve decided to take it easy. I have no set goal, and no set plan. It’s kind of frightening to relax, because I am very experienced in how one-week breaks become one-month breaks, and one month breaks can stretch out for five months. But I’m also not sure it’s right to believe that I conjured up some kind of magical productivity streak that will dissipate if I relax for a little bit. Also, this means I don’t have to worry about meeting any deadlines while I’m trying to do all this other stuff, like drive across the country, find an apartment, etc.
It also helps that 2010 gave me proof that a slow start doesn’t doom you. I only wrote 3,000 words last January. Anyway, this might mean more blogging. I don’t know.
Oh, I’m also allowing this to percolate into my reading habits a little. I’ve let up on the 19th century novels and started dipping deep into the waters of popular nonfiction recently. In the past few days I’ve read a book about youth basketball, a book-length interview between John Campbell and Bill Moyers, and Patti Smith’s recently released memoir about her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe (before beginning, I only had a very vague idea of who Smith and Mapplethorpe were, but hey, it won the National Book Award). I think I am going to blog about the first of these. I am about to temporarily set aside my snobbish disdain for Malcolm Gladwell to read his essay collection.