Friday, July 3, 2009

Kiki: Should I be rewarded for doing my job?

It has been an interesting week for writing goals, given that Julia Cameron put me. on a reading detox.

Writing Goals: June 29-July 3
*Complete the "Studio" chapter draft by 6 p.m. Tuesday and e-mail to advisor. Completed!
*Retool a conference paper abstract and send in to panel organizer. Yes, and summarily rejected.
*Begin writing the "Longevity" chapter, with minimum 3000 words by Friday. Sort of...see below
*Write at least 2 full morning pages each day. Yes, even if the last few lines were mostly filler.
*Write up list of questions for my next Prosecco Profile. Yes!  Check them out here.
*Post every day this week. Yes! Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

About that "Longevity" chapter and its minimum word count: first, when a chapter is in its beginning stages as this one is, a word count isn't the best goal.  Word counts come after I've set most of the research down into notes, and probably only about 15-20% of the research for this chapter has been completed. I start with a painting and work from the inside out, developing an idea about the piece, and then work hand-in-glove, back and forth, moving from the art to the text and back again until suddenly the research stops and the writing begins.  What I did instead of that research crux this week was work on organizing my ideas about the painting as a whole, which proved a very useful exercise. But the chapter needs reading before I can do more big chunks of writing.

All in all, it was a pretty successful week for writing considering there was no reading. But I've been trying to decide what my rewards should be for finishing my professional writing tasks.  This is so difficult - the question I ask myself is, "why should I be rewarded for doing my job?" I don't make much money, but even that amount is meant to help me focus on completing my dissertation. That's my job, should I be rewarded just for doing my job?

How do I work around this? The list of things I can think of as rewards is not short, but how do you relate your work to material or experiential gratification? How many words does it take to earn a massage?


  1. Congratulations!
    Do you think you have been more productive this week because of the reading detox? I can't wait to know what was your no-reading experience like(and prepare myself for mine).

    I've really enjoyed your description of your researching-writing process. You are so right. When working creatively you cannot always measure success with word count. Art works its magic in mysterious ways! Your comment on your writing process has made think on mine. Although the start and the end of my creative tasks are actually a piece of writing, if I see the first pages, the first draft as RESEARCH and not actually WRITING I will feel more free, less judging and, sure, more creative.

    I totally understand your question 'Should I be rewarded for doing my job?
    This is actually the first week that I manage to return to my creative writing. Until now I've been so busy at work that I had left that part of me seriously abandoned. Some of my writing tasks are part of my job. I have asked myself the same question. I wasn't sure why I should be rewarded for doing what I was supposed to do anyway and was getting paid for. My answer is YES. YOU MUST REWARD YOURSELF. Never mind how much you get paid for doing your job, there is a part of it that will never ever be compensated by any money: your passion about it; the time you spend thinking of new ways to approaching a task; the energy you use; the love you put in every word, in every thought; the precious time of your life that you dedicate to it. Maybe money will pay for the final product, but YOUR PERSONAL REWARD WILL PAY FOR THE PROCESS which made the final product possible.

  2. Hi again!
    Just to say that I clicked 'post comment' by mistake before I revised my paragraph, so I DO APOLOGISE for my mistakes. Technology!