What Time Is It?

I’m back from the other coast, and I don’t know what day it is, what time it is, or where my glasses are. While I was off sunning myself, I managed to sneak in some time with a college friend. She was asking me questions about writing and my life, etc. After I told her that I really had no schedule, I just sneak writing in around my editing work and my life in general, she said:

“Wow. I think you’re the only serious writer I know without a writing schedule.”

This from the woman who once told me I was a real poet, and made me feel ten feet tall when I was 22 and needed to hear that.

People say you need to write every day. And, although you know how I feel about the every day phenomenon, I think there are times when that is a good idea. But really only for a month or a couple of weeks. Even on my two-week writing residency, we each had a day where we barely wrote at all. You just can’t sustain that kind of intensity.

And when the writing is too intense, sometimes you have to step back. Do I need a schedule? Maybe. Do I need the quiet? Definitely. Am I taking steps to make that quiet place to work in. Well, I’m up early(ish) on a Saturday morning.

How about you?

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10 responses to “What Time Is It?

  1. At least you know what year it is (do you? I am still adjusting).

    I WANT to write every day. A little bit at least. But I also want to ride my mountain bike. And braid my garlic (yes, its summer here), and weed the garden. I also have house guests. I also HAVE to meet with students, attend stupid meetings, prepare course outlines, and lots of other crap. I don’t write every day, nor do I schedule daily writing.

    To answer your question, I do have a schedule, but it is a production schedule, not a writing schedule. I have writing projects to achieve, but I don’t prescribe the means by which I achieve them (or the times at which I will write them). I just know they need to get done.

  2. I’m contemplating taking this whole damn thing and elevating the importance I place on it in my world. Details as soon as I figure it out but I’m beginning to think structure is key.

  3. If I wrote every single day, or every single week for that matter, my book would be finished twice over. * sigh *

    Now that I have that out of the way ….

    I don’t believe you have to write everyday, but do believe you have to allow the space for writing every single day, meaning that you need to put yourself there on a routine. Just like going to your office and you have to be there by 8:00; or just like working out so you don’t gain that weight back; or just like taking a shower and putting on real clothes vs. living in sweats. Just like I would never go a single day without walking the dogs, no matter if I’m sick with the flu (like now) or if it’s too hot or too cold — the job still needs to be done.

    This doesn’t mean I believe in producing so many words or pages a day, but I do believe that making the space to write, TO WORK (even if I’m just using the space to daydream the story, or scrawl out a possible restructure for one chapter) is how the work gets done.

    And right now I’m not getting it done.

  4. I certainly do NOT write every day. For the most part it is because I don’t really have the opportunity every day. I seem to be only creative in the morning, and with five mornings a week devoted to getting my sorry self to work, I really only have creative time on the weekend. Then, however, I rise early, sometimes as early as 2:30 (yes, A.M.) and work until the household gets noisy. (Yes, I admit the Border Collie was my idea.)

    A long time ago, I worked as a technical writer. I came to hate it because I was putting my meagre talent in service of “the man” who had little respect/appreciation for it. I swore after that that I would reserve my writing for my own interests and motivations, and now I don’t even tell my employers that I can write. I think I would feel similarly if I somehow compelled myself to “write” every day. I think I would soon come to resent it. (Even my obsessive running calls for rest days.)

    Do I wish I could write more often? Yes. Am I taking steps to make that happen? No.

  5. I write every day when I’m writing. At the moment I’m on the hunt for a story to get going on, which sort of counts, I suppose. I’m all about moving in the general direction of ‘finished’ but that doesn’t look like the same sort of ass-in-chair activity every single day.

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