This week I am out of the house and writing, part of a month-long marathon of writing, in which I hope to draft most or all of my next academic book. I spent the day yesterday at an antique auction, and I spent part of the day on Tuesday at the library at Ohio State, trying, among other things, to track down some information about the author of a short (15-page) manuscript (really, an agfa photo-duplication copy of a typescript) that I recently purchased. Focused writing time, I guess, doesn’t really keep me away from my daily work as much as I might have imagined.
Focused writing time, in this case, means I am trying to find time (a couple of hours, at least) to write on my book both in the morning and the afternoon. What has become my daily routine over the last three years goes something like this: I get up in the morning, pack up whatever books or glass I’ve sold that needs to ship out that day, and I take it to the post office. This usually takes an hour or two, from printing out shipping manifests to leaving the post office. Then I walk to the local coffee shop and spend an hour or two writing, on this blog or on various other writing tasks: I may have left academic employment, but I’ve come to see that writing is truly something I do. I head home for lunch, and then spend some time listing things for sale, on eBay or on ABEbooks, or sometimes both (this, too, is a kind of writing, of course). Then I usually spend the rest of the afternoon looking at eBay, trying to find items to buy. Sometimes, I spend extra time preparing catalogues or mini-lists of books for sale (more writing), as well, because some interesting items would rarely if ever be searched for by potential buyers, and listing them on ABEbooks or eBay would not do much good.
It’s a lot of sitting and working on the computer, and I’ve jokingly told some folks that it must be the world’s easiest job. I usually follow that up by saying that, on average, I need to buy something every day (literally, thirty days a month) that I can make a hundred dollars on. What’s surprising is that, on the whole, I can often do that—on average. Some days I find or buy much more, or much less, than other days. Some days I sell much more, or less, than that.
This month, though, I've been sacrificing some (not all) of the buying and selling time (and blog-writing time: hence, this abbreviated post) in order to try to write for around four hours a day: I thought I’d shoot for 3000 words per day. So far, I’ve not managed that, but two weeks into the project, I’ve written close to 15,000 words, and I am maybe 40% of the way through. I’d prefer to get the draft done before August starts, but we’ll see. I’ll try to keep you (blog-) posted.