Friday, November 5, 2010


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Department of Mindboggling Productivity: Enter ‘The Digiter.’
It’s rather hard to get a grip on an author’s productivity because such intangibles as ‘thinking’ come into the equation – and even then how can an observer detect what an author is thinking about, let alone the effectiveness of such thinking. Then there is the interesting fact that an awful lot of work is carried out by one’s subconscious (a tricky little fellow – or fellow-ess -  at the best of times) which seems to do its best work when one is asleep.  

Of course, a time and motion expert could count words; but that’s not as straightforward as it sounds since the quality of the words is a factor; and how does one judge quality since, all too often, neither author nor editor can agree? And how can you depend on measuring word-count when re-writing and polishing are so integral to the writing process?  

I rather like the idea of the languid lifestyle of a creative genius, and was brought up in an environment where a pre-lunch sherry was de rigeur, and lounging by the pool – drink in hand - looking at gorgeous women in Monte Carlo was just what one did every long and lazy summer, but the truth is that I work like a dog and take writing productivity very seriously.  Why so? Well, these days an author has to write, blog, market himself, and – for god’s sake - Tweet.  Hemingway would have had a heart-attack.

Enter ‘The Digiter, ’ the writer equipped with the range of skills and talents demanded by the digisphere – as much at home with multimedia as with wordsmithing, and with the talent for self-promotion and the thick skin of a Donald Trump. Is that a good thing? I’m skeptical but pragmatic. Writing is so demanding I suspect it needs total commitment, and every atom of air and molecule of blood you have left in your body. But I don’t make the rules and the current rules of the game in this Darwinian digisphere we are creating – but certainly not controlling - are demanding in the extreme. They remind me of the French Foreign Legion slogan: “March or die!” though in this case they might be better expressed as “Produce across the spectrum or be unrecognized.”

I’m far from sure all writers seek celebrity status – there are considerable disadvantages to that condition – but I’m fairly certain that all of us seek recognition. As to whether we are all prepared to pay  the price, I can only answer for myself. Suffice to say that: yes, I take productivity very seriously indeed.

Department of Unexpected Feelings & Three Legged Cats
Unending wars and economic gloom apart, by conventional standards my current situation might be regarded as extremely difficult at present, and I have never worked harder in my life; but I find myself strangely content and optimistic. Can writing, so associated with angst, have that effect – or am I under the spell of Charlie, The Three-Legged Cat, and her companion, Chester The Molester? Or am I enjoying morphing into a digiter?  

Digitate on that, and when I know the answer, I’ll tell you. Probably.
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