This is Perfectly Normal Behaviour

Posted on 09/10/2012 by


Arkem: You said something before that I thought should be addressed. You said you were writing. Possibly still are?
Me: …yes.
Arkem: Right. Then I wanted to make you aware of something. It’s Sunday. That’s a day when traditionally people don’t work.
Me: Yes. Um. I couldn’t help it. You left me alone in the house.
Arkem: I know. And we couldn’t exactly take Pan away or tie you to something — the noise you make is upsetting. I’m just saying…

So I was sick yesterday. It was very sad. Also, I think I’m doing it wrong. When one is sick one should lie about moaning pathetically and watching silly TV and demanding cuddles and cookies.* Instead I just had naps and felt guilty about not working. Because it was a week day. And every week day there’s a quota I’m meant to fill.

I can fill my quota in a few different ways: write a certain number of words, edit a certain number of words, proofread… you get the idea. I don’t track the research I do anymore because it’s too unwieldy now it’s not connected with academia. But each day I jot down whatever I’ve done and at some point that gets added into a total that tracks how much work I’ve done this year versus how much I’m supposed to have done.

Me: All of which makes me look lunatic, by the way.
Rick: Because you work way too much?
Me: Yes. But also because sometimes it’s like nothing for days at a time and then ten thousand words.**

I do the math very sporadically. Just often enough to make sure I’m not falling behind. I used to do it more often but it’s become less and less necessary. I mean, I still have forty days excess from last year. Theoretically that means I could take a month and half off and lie in my hammock and read. In reality it means I’m sitting here thinking: Wonder if I can beat that this year?***

But the point of this is not my lunacy (which you were probably already aware of), I just wanted to ask — is it wrong that I look at those numbers and think: Should I raise my daily quota? I mean, that’s a sensible response, right? If I’m consistently hitting above it, I need to raise the bar. Right?****


* I did get the cookies. Actually the only thing I ate until Rick came home was cookies and chocolate milk. Rick says I get 100% for awesome, minus points for nutrition.

** Because when I’m composing I’ll only add a number to the quota when I drop a completed scene into the book. So if it’s like what I’ve been doing this last week where it’s days spent lining up the dominoes and then one day knocking them down it’s looks vaguely psychotic.

*** Possible, although not likely. Two months travelling slowed me down. Although not as much as I would have thought. I did the math when I got back and found that I was three days behind on the year. Perfectly reasonable. About a week later I realised I’d somehow left out six weeks of data from the trip. When that was added I turned out to be 14 days ahead. I instantly felt much better about things, and only slightly ridiculous. Don’t judge.

**** Or I’m delirious. Not ruling that out.


Posted in: Kandace, Research