Monday, July 11, 2011

Not a Gyllenhaal De-brief. An Experiment De-brief.

Let's be clear about the whole four-hour-workday experiment: it works.  Just not for me. Maybe in some parallel universe where life can be swept under a sofa for a few hours.  Not in my universe.

First, the awesomeness of it all. Motivated as I was, as we all are when things are fresh and exciting, I accomplished an unreal amount of editing.  Knowing I had only four hours shortened my decision-making process immensely.  I edited from knowledge, but my instincts drove the bus.  I didn't look up the clinical process for a stomach releasing acid so I could get just the right physiological response in my character.  The response came.  Was it fresh? Yes, so moving on....

I also loved the sense of accomplishment. I loved logging into my email and having an inbox overflowing with notes from my critique partners and friends and new writing opportunities.  I loved logging into my email and seeing nothing.  How many times might I have checked in those four hours had I not had the discipline to stay away?  How many sentences benefited from not having to share my brain, say, once an hour.

So you're thinking this is a no-brainer, right? Productivity--can I get an Amen from the rafters?! But that's as far as the Luke and Laura love affair go with my four hour workday.

I don't first define myself as a writer.  When I started my writer's journey, I promised myself writing would never get in the way of two very important parts of my life. No amount of critical or Twilight-level of movie-deal success would ever make up for short sighting these two areas.  When I shut myself off for four hours-and I was hard and fast about the rules: no phone, no texting, etc-I misstepped on that promised to myself.  Things happened.  Things I wouldn't have wanted to miss for a Tardis and Jake Gyllenhaal. Together.  With me.  Trapped inside.

Are we a culture that's too tech-ed out, too fragmented in our attempt to become more connected?  Heck, yeah. Do we need to prioritize our social connections so our work time is full-brain commitment? Definitely. Does a writer who just wants to work faster and better need to shut herself off from life in order to better capture it? Not anymore.  Experiment over.

Oh, and the Twitter promise? A few...maybe one...Pam?... may have noticed I didn't follow through on my update commitments.  Truthfully, at the end of the four hours, I had no taste for technology.  It acted as sort of a detox.  Computer-sensory overload. And for a girl who still struggles with the existential Twitter question: who cares that I'm having spinach salad for dinner? it just didn't happen.

Speaking of Gyllenhaal and the perfect storm of awesome, he is with Bear Grylls in Iceland tonight. Will they talk about the triple threat of crazy y-l-l in their names? Sadly, it is not a tropical climate-thus a zero on the Brokeback-skin exposure level-my muse is quite happy with the arrangement. She must edit a thousand more words.  Tough love and all.


Pamela Cayne said...

Sometimes we gotta crack a few eggs to make an omelet, right? So you got a few shells in last week's omelet--no big. It's how we learn and get better. And since I'm hardly tweeting anymore, I can't really call you out on it. As long as you're enjoying your writing and paying attention to your two areas, all is well. :)

Charles Gramlich said...

I have a hard time myself staying away from all the pretty bells and whistles in my techno life.

the walking man said...

I actually went 6 days without composing a damn thing, looking at the puters and only answering emails and selling the books. Total time in this chair per day about 30 was cool. I think I may have to do that more often.

L.A. Mitchell said...

OMG...did you see the eppy? I almost fainted dead-away from the delicious irony of my blog meme picture. Jake pissed instead. Brokeback jokes were funny, too :)