Who Writes Every Day?
A lot that I read about writing has to do with writing consistently and procrastination, two valuable and pertinent topics. It has occurred to me that reading articles about procrastinating with my writing just allow me to procrastinate longer, but I digress.
A theme I have gathered over the years is the idea that a writer should write every day. The idea made sense to me and I spent a very long time trying to do just that. I made schedules for myself, checklists, time logs, you name it, all in the name of doing some writing every single day. It was very hard. Like everyone else, I have a lot to do. I have a husband, a house, three dogs, a step-daughter and a full-time job. That doesn’t include writers meetings, critique groups, my sorry excuse for a social life and the inevitable bumps that appear in life. Today it was my husband losing the keys to my truck. The only keys.
I did all right at this mission for a while, but my concern (excuse?) was that when I forced myself to do that hour of writing after a twelve-hour day at work, the quality just wasn’t there. I don’t necessarily believe I should wait until I’m in the perfect mood or have nothing else to do, because then I would never write anything, but I was not convinced of the value of making myself write when I just didn’t want to.
I don’t make myself write every day anymore. That results in no small amount of guilt, but as a compromise I try to do things on the days that I don’t write that free me up on days that I do. For me that usually results in about three good writing days a week, give or take. That’s okay, but it’s not great. I think it was Stephen King who said something like, you better be there when the muse shows up, or something like that, or, if you aren’t there when the muse shows up, you’re screwed and I think there is definitely something to that idea as well.
I finished my edit of chapter 11 last week and was very excited to start on chapter 12. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened yet. Company, life, chores that crept up (excuses?) and so on have kept my notes sitting on the corner of my desk like an angry gremlin. At this point I know I probably won’t get to it until Monday, that’s two more whole days of guilt and shame, picturing the manuscript gremlin leering at me. I’ve been trucking along, making decent progress for a while now and I’m afraid to lose the momentum. Hopefully my muse will take the weekend off.