Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Thursday 31 May 2012

The Key to Productivity... Or is it?

I work on writing and editing jobs in the same way that a sane person takes lovers: one at a time, one after another. 
Whatever I’m working on, whether it’s writing or edits, I don’t switch from one job to another on the same day. Of course, if I’m writing and an edit comes along, I will break from the prose for as long as it takes to do them, but, if I finish a job in the middle of a day, I spend the rest of it doing something else: catching up on e-mails, reading, whatever.
The husband once famously said that he liked to do two and a half thousand words of prose a day and five comic book pages. He won’t mind me telling you that, because he actually said it in print, although a lot of people took it far too literally. He doesn’t stick rigidly to this regime, it was just a guide for the reader to understand something of the way he works, but it is interesting. It’s interesting because it shows that he multi-tasks. He has no problem switching from one job to another... Not just for the hell of it, obviously, but when he comes to a natural hiatus in one job, he’ll happily switch to something else. 
It crossed my mind a day or two ago, that, although I’d always say that I do one job at a time, I did insert the blog into my schedule three months ago, and doing so doesn’t seem to have had a deleterious effect on my work rate.
So, on Monday, when I finished a job at around lunchtime, I took a little break and then moved on to something else. 
The two jobs were both edits of a sort, and they were both projects of mine, but they could not have been more different.
I’m not going to evoke the whole question of secrets from earlier in the week, but when I had finished editing my very secret, very wonderful project, I moved on to rewrites to my novel “Naming Names”.
The secret edits had gone well, but the rewrites to “Names” went VERY well! This might have been a fluke, I suppose, but I wonder whether it’s actually something to do with productivity. Maybe, if we work on one project all day, we slow down, maybe it’s like revising for an exam, and we’re most receptive to our thoughts during the first hour of labour.
Now, I don’t plan to change the habits of a lifetime, and I wouldn’t recommend this course of action to you, but I wonder if this is the reason why the husband is so damned productive, and, more to the point, I wonder if I could be too.
Watch this space.


  1. Personally, I think just being able to work for the whole day on writing-related stuff, be it editing, writing etc, must be a bloody godsend. I can think about writing when I'm at school or whatever, but when I get home and I want to write, my mind is just full up of other stuff. Being able to wake up in the morning and know that you don't have to do anything really except sit at your computer and write and just do the thing you love, would be so, liberating. And it would keep me focussed.

    1. I totally know the feeling. if I'm not full to the brim with psychology lectures, assignments, study, I even have homework for wing chun (that's a chinese martial art).

      makes it hard to be my usual full-of-myself-self output (that's a joke son ... well, depends who you ask) while so full of input.