Today I wore my Slitherin shirt to work, researched demons and Chicago in the 1920s, wrote a couple thousand words, and listened to Amy Winehouse and Billie Holiday. So, yeah. Pretty typical.
When I left the day job a year and a quarter ago, I remember people asking what a writer does all day. I couldn’t answer them then, and to be honest, I can’t really answer them now except to say that there just isn’t enough time available to do it all.
I’ve been thinking about this since last weekend, when I found myself at ConFusion, talking to Karen Lord (who was the guest of honor), Tobias Buckell, Jim Hines, and Howard Tayler about productivity and how they create their work. Not surprisingly, there was zero overlap in our approaches–with perhaps the one central truism being that deadlines always work to create words. Tobias is a long-haul writer, a guy who can plant butt in chair and focus forever. Jim works around a day job, but has set times he works with. Karen is more fluid, but seems to roughly be in the 60-90 minute runs camp. Howard plans day-by-day, week over week, and manages to deliverables. Me? I’m all over the place, though I’m probably moderately consistent on creating in three standard session, two in the AM, one in the evening.
But we all agreed that none of of work the same way all the time, and we all agree that the only thing that matters is that you find something that works for you to actually prioritize the work you care about highly, and therefore, allow yourself to make the time you need to do it.
There it is.
The super-secret key to ultra-productivity.
I would assume that rule is universal. If you’ve got other ideas, I’m always interested in hearing about them.
I’ll leave you with this documentary on Billie Holiday, just because I thought it was interesting in about every way possible. Remarkable artist. Remarkably interesting life, especially given the times in which she lived.