I’ve been meaning to take this photo since I graduated in June:
I admit, this may require explanation. These are my writing notebooks. Almost all of my fiction is written longhand in the first draft (though if I get stuck at the end I start typing it in — which may explain weak endings on a lot of second drafts!) and my medium of choice is the French-ruled Clairefontaine notebook. This pile contains writing from July 1998 to yesterday, and the strip of blue batik marks the span of grad school.
This is my way of communicating what an effect grad school has had on me, on my productivity alone. In the two years and a bit between June 10, 2006 and June 28, 2008, just my longhand compositions fill 346 pages. In school, 173 pages of rough a year, instead of the (hmm, hmm, carry the 2) 79 pages a year I averaged 1998-2006 (much of it RPG backstory and in-character journal.)
This is just one way to measure. It doesn’t count the things I type as a first draft — much of Faerye Net falls in that category — or tell you how much of that raw material I used in subsequent drafts. But it does tell you how profoundly grad school transformed my habits. It forced me to think of myself as a writer.
Let’s see, since June 28 I’ve used 123 pages, divide by 2, multiply by 12, 720 pages a year…apparently being done with grad school has been good for productivity as well. Except 60 of those pages are in the last two weeks…I’m tempted to make a graph.