Tuesday, June 17, 2008

seeing red

When I write anything as an initial draft, the font is red on my computer. Then I go back and read it, and when I'm comfortable that it flows well and is organized somewhat logically with the rest, that section goes to blue font. THEN, when I'm ready to solidify my thoughts, whatever text I need to feel is "fixed" or "untouchable for a while" goes to black. And I consider the black "done" for awhile. Cannot be touched. It's good as it stands because I've seriously considered it three times already. It's the system I have come up with to avoid constantly editing past material and not moving forward with new stuff.

And it works! Yesterday I wrote 14 pages in Chapter 2 (red) and revised a bit of Chapter 3 (red to blue). I like my intro to Chapter 2, and it was already in black font, so I just skipped down to where the red started and began there. Otherwise (and since I know myself well for the most part), I would have started right from the top with the friggin' title and edited all the way down to the new stuff and lost that time. And probably energy and momentum, too.

So, the 14 are in red, although there a few sections/paragraphs in blue because I pasted them in from notes and a few messy pages found here and there in my Dissertation folder. I'm hoping for all blue with more red for today. I can feel a section-break coming in Chapter 2, so that's when I'll try for all black. To complete Chapter 3, this requires a trip to the National Archives in D.C., so I'm not feeling the black font coming for some time. Red or blue it is. And that's fine. The Archive trip will be sometime mid-July (FYI: I'm very nervous about this trip. Whole new territory. More later).

Anyway, everything has a system. My system for writing is being surrounded by my sources on the floor of my office in a half-moon shape that makes for easy reach as I swivel around. My system for writing is to color-code my text so I can keep track of what the hell is going on. My system for writing occurs in hourly chunks. I write for an hour, stop, do some mundane task, go back for another hour. I can get about four to five hours of writing time doing that in a period of six or seven hours. And, I'm preparing for a trip to the Buffalo Historical Society on Friday, so I'm making a list of "holes" that I need to fill.

I'm not crazy, am I???

Gotta go.....Start the clock!


Byron said...

Funny that you must travel to DC to take care of your red [white] and blue problem. :-)

Judy B said...

How cleverly correct you are, Lord Byron. Let's call Chapter 3 the "red, write, and blue" problem. ha ha..