Kaizen! Bless You.

The Dream, 11:32 AM Sunday

Rarely do I remember my dreams, except when I begin a writing project and they become vivid. Last night, I had trouble sleeping. Before settling down, I always read. It’s part of my winding down ritual—that nearly always lasts only minutes before my book drops. This time though I read a long chapter without even yawning. Instead of sleep, bizarre sensations came to me. I felt guilty, in a way, for the pages finished and that I could go further. I could feel the darkness floating over my skin. I could almost see the night dilating the hours between three and four. Eventually, I did doze off and several of those clear, writing-saturated dreams launched.

When I woke, I replayed them in my head, trying to fight the natural course of the morning to burn them away. I wanted to tell readers the weird stories my subconscious had told me on the way to dawn.

I wanted to write (mornings are Writing Time) but there was still yesterday’s lingering anxiety about being interrupted.  I could lock my door, but then there would be the questions and snarky comments.

“You’re writing again, Dad?  Oh, gawd! Can’t you make up your mind what you are going to be when you grow up?”

Along with wanting to catch my Writing Time before noon, I also wanted to try the kaizen approach to my next story.  (I was reading my kaizen book during the insomnia last night.)  One sentence, I decided, would be a good goal for today.  (I could write much more than that, but the primary goal for today is to start to build the habit, not necessarily finish a story.)

As happens often in early mornings, I went to the bathroom.  Anyone who knows me knows that I am rarely without my Samsung tablet.  Then, just about to read, I realized something.

I’m not likely to be interrupted in here. I have Google Docs on my tablet, and I only need to write one sentence.

And so, I wrote my opening:

The white convertible that pulled up to the pump alongside him was the car he had seen in his vision.

Writing fiction today has been a success.


Kaizen, 4:32 PM

It’s already happening. Kaizen is working, but I am resisting.

We just got back from lunch at Taco Bell with my mother-in-law.  In a way, I didn’t want to go because I wanted to stay home and write. On the other hand, going would allow me to get out and experience people. One of my problems in the past has been lack of fuel for stories. The basic building blocks of stories come from somewhere away from the computer among strangers.

Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked.

We are back home, and all I want to do is write.  I’ve no idea what to write, but I want to follow the strings of sentences and see where they lead.

Yesterday, all I wanted to do was procrastinate.  And I did, with YouTube and Facebook and reading.

Today, the switch flipped, but it actually started on Thursday. One of the local librarians offered to loan me an ARC of Tom Hanks’ fiction anthology coming out in a couple of months, Uncommon Type.  The book is fantastic, and for the last several days, I wanted to spend all day holed up somewhere “falling through the hole in the page,” as Stephen King calls it.  I wanted to get the book done so I could give it back to my friend.  I felt obligated.

It took only one small injection of kaizen into my routine to invert my priorities. I will probably have to spend the rest of the day forcing myself to read this amazing book in ten-page chunks.

Why not just write?

That would seem obvious, wouldn’t it? No. The idea of kaizen is gradual building up of a habit so that the instinctive functions of the brain do not kick in and stop you. I have never followed through with something like this. I want the commitment to be real this time.

So, I’m not going to write more (except for the blog).  Let’s see what happens.




Blog:  706

Fiction:  20

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