significant progress

I had a wonderful writing professor in college who listed her assignments in this way: Please provide me with significant progress by the due date.

I remember my initial terror over that requirement. I stressed about how I would never be able to gauge what would be significant progress to a woman who was an accomplished writer and professor. Through the course of the semester, I came to enjoy the process. I realized, then, what she was trying to do. By allowing us to determine progress, she truly allowed us to develop a writer’s voice.

Now, as I write, I think about the possibility of giving myself a daily deadline of significant progress. When I started this process, it was three pages a day. With final exams at work, I have had to put this plan on hold. And even then, I did so with the knowledge that I am well-ahead of schedule and should meet my July 13 deadline for a first draft quite easily.

I have read extensively about writing, and this made me think. Would there be harm in creating a “significant progress” goal? I’ve read several writers who have daily goals based on time and several who have daily goals based on the number of words and/or pages. I really don’t know how I feel about a time goal. I just know that for me that would just invite procrastination, which with a set number of pages, I was able to avoid. I think, though, a significant progress goal would open up a whole can of worms. I know full well that there would be days that I would write two sentences and other days that I would write twenty pages.

My friend asked me a couple of weeks ago how I feel when I write. Honestly, I feel like I could do it forever. I don’t struggle with output in any way. I sincerely thank USC Annenberg for that skill. I do know that editing is going to be a monster, but then it always was.

I suppose if you find something that you can do in that manner this takes me back to my original question about bliss. It’s very possible that this may be a significant step to finding that bliss.


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