#Swanwick68: Day 4 (Tuesday)

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to oversleep on Tuesday morning, after three hard days’ work and an evening spent dancing in the Vinery. At least, I hope I wasn’t ! But it was okay; Tuesday is the middle-day, the day for taking things easy, the day when the programme is lighter, with more time to just relax and absorb; right? Wrong! Or as Cheryl Holland put it so succinctly in her tips for white badgers last week: When they say Tuesday’s a day off, they’re lying!

TargetsThere are no scheduled classes, but there are activities available throughout the day, from the crime panel discussion (and if the photo of the Chairman brandishing a gun is anything to go by, that was a lively session) to the improvisation groups and preparations for Page to Stage.

But a couple of years ago, a new innovation appeared on the programme: Procrastination-Free Day. Every writer knows about procrastination; why else do we have the cleanest ovens and kitchen floors? And the idea of PFD is to take away all distractions, all excuses – and just write.  (It’s a bit like NaNoWriMo, but shorter and sharper.)

StickersI signed up for PDF this year and duly joined 14 others, all of us armed with our targets for the morning and for the afternoon. And I don’t know whether it was the Swanwick magic, Jonathan’s steely eye from the front of the room, or the fact that we publicly declared our targets; but everyone turned out a ton of work in the allotted time. Word counts were beaten; plot holes were filled; homework assignments were completed – not to mention a few competition entries.  Me? I wrote an article and a blog post, plotted out the chapters for one novel and developed an overview for another one. So, along with everyone else, I awarded myself a card full of shiny stickers. Maybe that was the real motivation: the inner child just loves a shiny sticker! 

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By Elizabeth Ducie

Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.

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