Saturday, June 17, 2017

Productive Week

It's been a good week.

I finished an article. Not the terrible Zola one, which I have set aside yet again.

I'm beginning to think that one falls in the category that Joli Jensen, in Write No Matter What, labels a "toxic project."

Her argument is, if you begin to feel nothing but loathing at the thought of working on a writing project, it's become "toxic" and it needs to just... go... or STOP because it will drain your energy and become a mental and emotional roadblock that makes it impossible to work on other things.

Jensen is (unfortunately) talking about much larger projects, but it sure does seem to describe that Zola article for me. So I set it aside, with the thought that I may "never return to it."

Given the sense of overwhelming relief and peace I felt when I reached that decision, I'd say "toxic" was the appropriate label for it at this point. I had begun to regret ever embarking on it, quite frankly.

But the good news is, I finished the article on Hersey's Hiroshima and I feel pretty good about that one.

And I got the page proofs for an upcoming co-authored article on Shalamov, so I feel very good about that, needless to say. It's always a great--and sort of surprising--feeling to see your work in print. Not just typed out on your own computer or whatever, but actually, officially typeset and about to appear in professional form somewhere out in the great big world.

And then, there was this:

I found a wonderful pick-your-own strawberry place in RI.

I haven't had such great luck with strawberries in RI. Typically, they're much better in NJ, I suspect because waves of godawful heat tend to hit NJ far earlier and far more often in the months of May and early June.

But we had one such mini-heat wave here in RI last week, for a few days, but I didn't mind it (I certainly never though of calling it "godawful") and this was the glorious result of that.

It was followed almost immediately by this:

The summer jam-making session have commenced, in short.

The end of the little spate of warm weather left much cooler temps, so I took advantage of the cool and breezy days to can some strawberry jam (in progress photo on the left), and to use up the leftover berries in the freezer and make some more blackberry jam and cherry jam as well.


So now, we wait for the raspberry and blueberry picking seasons to begin.

If the timing is right, I'll also get some more cherries. Really, nothing beats having fresh fruit frozen and stored for the winter.

Since we're looking at yet another rainy and chilly weekend, I'm hoping to get some knitting projects finished.

Because no one really wants to be knitting a sweater during the summer--unless it's something lightweight, and even then, not really. Not if it ends up big enough that it's resting on your lap in the heat. That's the kind of thing that can push someone over the edge, even if the resting item is simply made of cotton or silk.

God forbid it's woolen.

I also bought a bunch of books (for the Kindle of course) and hit the library, so I've got a couple more writing projects in the works.

I'm still trying to stick to the program of "Deep Work" sessions, bouts of a minimum of 15 minutes of writing every day, and "Active Questions" to check on whether or not I'm meeting my goals.

I think it's working, more or less. Some days better than others, but overall, I'd say it's working. At the very least, I feel a bit more "on schedule" and "in control" of my work habits.

I didn't do any writing for the past several days (see above: berries and jam take time) although I think I did do a 15-minuter, actually, on one of those days, I just didn't count it because it seemed so very piddly.

Prior to that, I had a 6-day span of "deep work"--concentrated, intellectual activity--that resulted in an article submission. This is good. And productive.

I'm hoping that the upcoming week will consist of "second verse, same as the first."

With maybe a bit of gardening and knitting--instead of berry-picking and jamming--thrown in.

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Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "Life is short, but there is always time for courtesy."