Dissertation Days #1

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The one thing that every writer is told is that they have to be reading and writing a lot. But somehow, fitting that into your everyday schedule with all of the interruptions is not the easiest thing in the world. My dissertation is actually the opening of my novel, and yet having the time to sit and write didn’t seem to be happening.

So in the middle of the Christmas holidays, I packed up and shot back to uni for a few days in order to get some work done.

I must admit, it was one of the best things that I could have done.

Within moments of being there, I had started writing. To start with, I didn’t try and go straight into the dissertation, but instead had a catch up session. I had been so lacking in motivation that any sort of writing – articles, stories, blog posts etc – were far behind schedule. So I took some time to step back and catching up on the writing that I wanted to do, hoping it would get me in the mood for when I started writing.

Then it was off to the library to pick up more books than I would ever be able to look at in my short time period. But it worked, for then I spent the evening doing some reading. I was reading about Kipling at the time, and I find reading about other authors is again a huge inspiration for me. By the time I went to bed, I was really in the mood to focus although I had only been there a few hours.

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The full day up there was incredible. I continued writing from where I had got to with the novel, hoping to keep it moving forward so that I have a better idea of where things are going. At the same time as writing, I was taking some time to go through that chapter and edit as I went along, trying to keep my writing focused rather than my usual ramblings.

Then I went back to the beginning and did what I call the `Stephen King Edit` – the second draft has to be 10% less than the first. By applying this to the first part of my novel, I felt as if that bit was as ready as it was going to be in order to send off for feedback. There are parts that I’m not sure about, and won’t know what to do until I have the feedback.

I worked some reading inbetween the gaps in writing and even managed to throw in catching up on a TV show at the same time. Plus a few walks to some inspirational places and just enjoying the freedom again. Although the progress pretty much stopped again when I got home, it was fantastic to just truly focus for a few days and know that I made some solid progress.

Now I just have to somehow hope I can replicate that day when I’m trying to focus on it again.

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