Monday, February 19, 2007

The fear of public humiliation as a productivity tool

Usually, I use this page to either discuss current projects or pass on an observation that some subset of the people who visit this page might think is amusing. Both are reasonable uses of blogspace and I intend to continue. But I think it's time I tried something else.

I am writing a work of fiction that I intend to complete by the end of this year. I have been working on it for a good long time, but this is the year that I must learn whether I can really do it. Less talking about writing; more writing. This Presidents' Day, I'm thinking that announcing that I will offer weekly updates of my progress might motivate me to get this done already. Perhaps the fear of public humiliation will force me to be more productive.

A little under three years ago, I set three creative goals for myself. The first was to write a nonfiction book that, unlike my previous five, didn't stink. Runaway American Dream came out in 2005. It's flawed in many ways (don't get me started), but it stinks less than my previous books. The second was to produce an interesting record. The Sandinista Project meets that criterion and will be out in May. The third was to see whether I have a novel in me. That's this year's project.

The joke, of course, is that I am quite overextended, happily so, right now, with great projects and clients I'm thrilled to be working with. So, as I did with Runaway American Dream and The Sandinista Project, I'll have to write this book while still satisfying my clients (and, most important, my clients' readers). Let's see if I can do it.

Blogging can be a very transparent medium, and I'm not very good at public transparency. So don't worry that I'm going to post in-progress chapter drafts, muse over whether what my antagonist does on page 82 is incompatible with what he or she did a few scenes back, or whine about the commercial aspects of publishing. I'll process the sausage in private. All I want to do here is share what I'm doing and relate my progress (or lack thereof). Because, let's face it, if I announce publicly that I'm going to do something, it's incrementaly more likely that I will. I hope.

Regular progress updates will begin the moment The Sandinista Project is released.

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