I haven’t written anything in the past few days.
This is a lie.
I haven’t, in the past few days, moved many things from the drafts folder of this blog’s content management system (CMS) to the scheduled folder. That means there’s a number that goes down every night that hasn’t gone up. It has failed to maintain stasis. I have been good this year about scheduling ahead and making sure that every day, another chunk of writing gets done.
I’ve watched a bunch of Brandon Sanderson lectures on writing sci-fi and fantasy lately. He talks about writing in terms of hours? I find that interesting, because my work isn’t currently very contained. If a student contacts me at any given moment, it seems easy and free to just respond immediately, but this means that I’m functionally on call 24/7. For me, I instead have a simpler rule: I write a thing every day.
It doesn’t have to be big or small, it just has to be something that seizes me about the blog. Something I want to talk about, something I feel I have the pull or energy to. If I don’t have that energy, I instead spend time going through my calendar that I use to organise the blog, and put down notes of things to write later, or ideas I may want to follow up on.
This year, the articles have been big. They’re an average of about a thousand words, and that means any modestly short article, like a 500 word article, is being tipped out by a twelve hundreder.
But I didn’t write anything in the past few days.
I did record video, video that should be going up soon. It had Fox involved.
I recorded a stack of micropodcasts for Patreon, which should be going up soon.
I wrote part of four different articles that aren’t going up, and I don’t know when they will go up.
Right now I am writing this, because this is what seizes me. The strange feeling of knowing that I have written, and wanting to say I haven’t done nothing, even though nobody is saying I do nothing. Wanting to push that number from going too low, like I have a broom in my hand and I can keep back the tide with it.
I really like having this blog to structure things, and part of keeping it from controlling me – because hey, did you know for me it’s marking season right now? – is being willing to use some days to phone it the fuck in.
The funny thing about this post is that I wrote it… like a month ago. But here I am, actually today, on November the 9th, working on updating, and adding to this post, because I also have not done much writing this month. And that, though, that I expected, that I in fact planned for. Because the funny thing is, I know that late October and early November is the marking period, and this year the marking has been even moreso.
Odds are good if you know me, you may think ‘are you still marking?’ because the past like, three weeks have been ‘sorry, I’m busy.’ And that’s true.
But this is what the backlog is for, too. It’s for accounting for the times when I literally won’t be able to write, and need to make sure I have a plan for that.