07 September 2010

Quakes, shakes and breaks

About the importance of switching off your inner editor and ignoring the spellchecker

Last week's earthquake in Christchurch, Cantenbury reminded me that New Zealand is not a land of milk and honey. And living on the North Island is not all that safer, because although the 56 volcanoes of Auckland Volcanic Field are considered extinct, the field itself is dormant.
Beautiful but scary!
Rangitoto Island, one of Auckland's dormant volcanoes, seen from Shekespear Regional Park

Shaken a little by this realisation I've decided to get that home insurance sorted ASAP. I mean, when I have a day off.
Well, but a while ago, when I first started my non-fiction project, I decided to use my days off for writing.
I have a day off today - what shall I do?

Dunno, gone writing :]

Chapter 5 (of 8) of my non-fiction guide is nearly finished - hurray! It seems that the system of taking a day per week instead of a week off in one go is working for me. Knowing that I have only so many hours I can dedicate to writing I am in fact writing.
I think this may the same mechanism that makes working  mothers so effective - the less time you have, the better you use it.

Another newly adapted technique I can swear by is 'switching off the inner Editor'. Whatever you're writing, just carry on typing, don't stop to correct the sentence, look up a synonym, or check that word you have just at the tip of your tongue - just keep typing away. Leave a gap with ?, write 'thesaurus/dictionary' in the space you want to put that special word in. It also doesn't matter if you have bits and pieces of your chapter in the right order ; doesn't even matter if you have them in the right chapter, because as long as you have them written down, you can then re-juggle your paragraphs, as you edit your first draft.
But you have to have that first draft finished.

And now, for that annoying spellchecker... Is anyone else finding the underlined words so challenging? Everytime I see this thin, wavy, red line my hands are shaking and I have to correct it. It interrupts the flow of writing, of course and often by the time I've chased out all the wavy rd lines my Muse is also gone.

I've tried switching the spellchecker off but I need it on, 'cos sometimes apart from the first couple of letters, I've no idea how a word I want to write is spelled.
But as the book I'm writing is on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and what is trying to get in the way of my writing is, well - my own touch of OCD, I've decided to take my own advice and fight my Inner Editor/Spellchecker/Perfectionnist using a renown anti-OCD technique: Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP).

So from now on, I'm going to delibarately misspell words and look at the blimming wavy red line,  and ... try to do nothing. Nothing. Just let my hands shake until I can no longer hold the mouce.
And then take a deep breath and.. a break?
OK, why don;t I start now?

[sign out]

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