Saturday, September 5, 2009

Driftwood: Starting to Swim

When I start writing something, especially online, I wonder if the real ‘me’ is coming through. However, since there are a million ‘mes’ sitting in my head, it is often difficult to say. (Million is an exaggeration- there are probably five). I am at once painfully shy as well as outspoken, an introvert yet yearn for contact, once in a while, with kindred spirits. It may be obvious, but today, the ‘me’ is all happy and jumpy. (I would be happier (and jumpier) if it weren’t so darned hot here in Southern California. I swear, I feel like running to the nearest snow capped mountain and dipping my face in the snow). Anyway, I digress.

One of the reasons I am happy/excited is joining SWIM. I am loving the thought of having a space where I can outline my writing tasks, and check weekly whether I’m meeting my goals. I love making lists, but I’d like to make sure that I am actually checking off tasks on my list, rather than making the same list over and over, as I often end up doing.I love the self imposed accountability that joining this group brings. I have to thank City girl as I wouldn’t have learnt of SWIM if she hadn’t mentioned it on her blog. I also have to thank Revisionista (who I found through City Girl’s blog ) on who’s blog I rediscovered SWIM. It suddenly struck me that this is the group I need to join and I’ll tell you why.

I am a 3rd year PhD Student (this is the beginning of my 4th year, actually), with a paper whose first draft is almost but not quite done and whose dissertation proposal needs to be written. Also, I am working on a couple of personal, creative projects. One is a story/novel type thing that is happening , which makes me infinitely happy, but which isn’t progressing all too quickly. Another is my ‘new blog’ for which I have a couple of ‘weekly series’ ideas that are still at the conception stage. Of course, my priority right now is my academic writing followed by the story thing. I would like to post regularly on my blog without it taking over my life.

It is hot and I’m definitely looking forward to nice, long, refreshing SWIM (have all the SWIM pun variations been exhausted?)
Thank you all!!

Before I forget, my goals for this week (starting tomorrow?..☺)

Academic Writing:

1. Rewrite the Results sections, with updated figures
2. Add the Discussion/Conclusion section
3. Read a couple more papers which will contribute to the building up of the discussion section

Creative Writing:

1. Do Morning pages/ timed stream of consciousness writing
2. Work on the novel but start rewriting from the beginning, in sequence to see how it goes (I’ve been writing mostly out of sequence, so far). I’d also like to do some rewrites long-hand just to see whether that gets me any place different. It usually does.

One of the reasons , my novel has been going slowly, is because I’ve been treating creative writing as a sort of Artist’s date..While that is fun, I probably need to move faster than that, if I ever intend to finish it. [ By the way, I only realized the origin of the words ‘Artist’s Date’ yesterday and promptly went to Barnes and Nobles to browse through Cameron’s ‘Artist’s Way’).

3. Post on the blog once or twice

And here’s a fun thing to try. I did this long ago and found the results interesting.
Try writing (either your morning pages or any creative writing) with your non- dominant hand. Is your thought process still the same?
Just as writing long-hand vs. Typing seems to access different stuff, writing with the ‘wrong hand’ just might. It might not- but there is no harm in

Ok, since this is only my very first post, I had better stop now and save some for later.

P.S Does this post count as morning pages?
P.P.S What are your favorite journals and pens?


  1. welcome to swim driftwood. so glad you could join us. i'm fairly new at the swimming myself but have been following along with these lovely ladies since they first put their toes in the water. i'm not sure why it took me so long to jump in myself but i am sure glad that i did.

    i think your goals are definitely doable. good luck on achieving your goals and i look forward to hearing about your progress. that is an awesome idea about writing mp with the non-dominant hand. i'll have to try that.

    as far as favorite journals, i think some of us will answer you with moleskins, especially now since they come in some rockin' colors :) pens, i don't really have any specific pens that i go to although i do frequently use colored pens that i have. sometimes i actually use a pencil.

    and this counts as morning pages if you want ;)

  2. Thanks, Melita!
    I've been tempted to buy a moleskine journal. I just confirmed a couple of hours ago, that they are made of imitation leather (and not real), so I might buy one from Amazon..:)


  3. Oh and I didn't specify but I actually want to get a version of the paper done before Tuesday. *fingers crossed and off to work*


  4. Welcome Driftwood! I love that our group is expanding. Glad to have you along!

    I'm always glad to see other academics with creative visions who aren't willing to sacrifice them. Especially those who are into The Artist's Way - morning pages are a way of life, aren't they?

    For my MPs/journaling, I use either ruled B5 notebooks (quirky Asian size) or the largish soft Moleskine notebooks. I'll do most of my writing with a black Pilot fine-point pen, but there is always a wide range of colors around too. I like hot pink for contrast when I'm circling ideas or action items in my MPs.

    I use the same notebook for outside-the-box thinking, like mindmapping for blog posts, class plans, vision statements, personal essay bits, and all that sort of thing. That way it's all in one place and I don't have to go futzing around with multiple notebooks and journals.

  5. Good luck on your academic goals!

    And I can't wait to hear how the novel rewriting goes. I've enjoyed reading about your process so far; seems like it has a natural flow. So I'm looking forward to reading any tips and insights you have along the way as you shift into rewriting mode.

  6. Welcome! So glad you decided to join us :)

  7. Thank you all! I do feel very welcome. :)

    @ Kiki, You know, a session of morning (or evening) pages makes me feel like I've meditated. It is a great focussing tool. I am going to borrow a copy of Artist's Way from my library and read it. (I've only browsed through it at my local B&N)

    @ Revisionista I will keep you posted. I love reading about your writing process as well.

    @City Girl Thank YOU!..:). I wish I'd joined sooner.


  8. Welcome to Swim and good luck with your goals. I look forward to reading on how you manage to balance both the creative and the academic writing. Good luck with The Artist's Way, too!