The occasional ramblings of a freelance lexicographer

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Getting started

I'm generally not bad at getting going in the morning. I have a cup of tea and a toasted bagel watching Breakfast TV, then I switch on my computer, get dressed and sit down at my desk. Most mornings, I spend about half an hour checking and dealing with any email and, yes, checking Facebook too. But then I usually get down to work without much trouble. Yesterday though, the first thing on my list was to revise something I'd written a couple of weeks ago. I'm not particularly precious about things I write and I was perfectly happy to make the changes, but I just find going back over old things really difficult to get motivated about. I'm the same about anything - I get excited and enthusiastic about new things, but after that first flurry of activity, my enthusiasm wanes. Over the years, I think I've got a bit better at seeing things through to the end, certainly professionally, but those last bits of to-ing and fro-ing to make revisions and changes at the end of a piece of work are still my least favourite part of the job.

So faced with ploughing through editor's notes on a Monday morning, I realised I needed a different tactic to get my week going. I didn't really want to start on the next chunk of writing until I'd finished off the revisions, so instead I spent an hour or so writing out wordlists - picking out useful vocabulary for the activities I'm going to be working on next and writing them out in neat handwritten lists for future reference. Ever since I was a little girl, I've enjoyed writing things out neatly and nowadays, it's often the way I get started on a new project. Whilst the lists aren't strictly necessary, the process of turning the words over in my head, spotting patterns and anomalies is incredibly helpful in firing off ideas about how to tackle the language at hand.

And after the wordlists had helped me getting started, I was in the swing of things and those revisions got worked through in no time at all.

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