Ever since I started working in the Local History department at the library, I have had a whole new appreciation for the personal archive. So many things that we have in our collection are things that I would have thrown away or found too mundane to save, if I was living a hundred years ago. All the old receipts, income tax forms, random photos of buildings and other paper paraphernalia tell the story of our city. While processing these things at work, I’ve had a lot of time to think about the stuff that I’m saving and recording in my own life. I’ve been thinking about this for years, but it was brought to mind again this past Christmas when my grandfather gave me something from his personal archive.
It’s been about five months since I committed to writing seriously, so I want to spend a little bit of time reflecting on those five months in this post. In particular, I want to take a look at my ongoing relationship with the concept of productivity and the guilt that goes along with it.
Some of the earliest and most prevailing advice I’ve heard about writing is to do with the importance of reading. Every class, every book, and every writer have had the same advice. It seems to be the one thing that all writers agree on: good writers are good readers. This week the importance of this advice dawned on me.
When I was planning my writing routine in the last few weeks before I graduated, I had some grandiose ideas about how I was going to structure my new-found writing time. One of those ideas was to work on two projects at once. I knew that I absolutely wanted to work on my novel-sized project–I had been chipping away at it for years– but I also wanted to work on some shorter-length projects at the same time.
I used to think that writer’s block was a sorry excuse for laziness, and I thought that the answer to overcoming writer’s block was will-power. Now I think there’s more to it than that.
I finished the coursework for my degree in English and Medieval Studies on April 12, 2018. That was just over a month ago. Since finishing, I’ve been trying to find my new post-undergrad routine. Here’s how it’s going:
The first week or so was a bit of a crap-shoot in terms of writing. At the beginning of April, when I was writing my twenty-five page, seminar paper on Cecily Neville, all I wanted was to write creatively. I wanted it so badly that it became the almost-heavenly light at the end of the academic tunnel. I was so consumed with the pursuit of finding writing time, that I didn’t exactly know what to do with it when I finally got it after handing in my last assignment. Continue reading “The First Few Weeks and the Purple Dress”