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50 days ago

Megan Betz

"When I’m in writing mode..., I get up at four a.m. and work for five to six hours. In the afternoon, I run for ten kilometers or swim for fifteen hundred meters (or do both), then I read a bit and listen to some music. I go to bed at nine p.m. I keep to this routine every day without variation. The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind. But to hold to such repetition for so long—six months to a year—requires a good amount of mental and physical strength. In that sense, writing a long novel is like survival training. Physical strength is as necessary as artistic sensitivity." -Haruki Murakami

More than 50 days ago, I posted about a recent severe uptake in sugar consumption & decrease in writing time. (For once, correlation does equal causation. I was so sugar-dazed that the only thing I wanted to do was watch reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and then Angel for a combined 13 seasons of 90s glory.)

I'm happy to say that--even though I've been frequenting the ice cream shop down the road--I've made progress on both counts. My log of daily writing time has legitimate notes for most of the 50 days, though the time (and the balance between writing and other writing-ish activities) could use some readjusting. This week, while my co-workers are at the AAG annual meeting, I plan to dedicate myself to the semester's remaining projects + construct a calendar of grant application deadlines, degree requirements, and the like.

While eating a pint of ice cream. Just kidding. I think.

My husband & I ordered worms to begin a vermi-composting. Those little guys can eat pounds of produce each week, which means we need to be ready to feed them. This means we're dedicating more time to making food, buying more produce, and limiting the amount of snack foods that come home. The real struggle has become less against sugar and more against the urge to order a pizza while I keep writing--because I'm so busy writing so much that there's no time to cook, right? (Right--which is why I'm on season 8 of How I Met Your Mother.)

So, there's progress; there are ambitious plans for the summer (from submitting the first round of papers for publication to making our own bread--if I can figure out how to keep a culture alive--and cheese). There are papers and research piles that are getting seriously checked-off the to-do list. Mostly, there is the strong urge to just sit down & eat the ice cream. I'm trying to hold onto Murakami's words, focusing on my physical & mental strength and using the semester as training for the marathon of a dissertation.