On Figuring Out My Own Way

the art of writing

This week I had to remember a lesson that I’d forgotten: what looks like it might work best does not necessarily work best. I don’t remember much about Stephen King’s On Writing, but the one thing I do remember is that he is adamant about having a steady — if I remember correctly, daily — work schedule. Anything else is just excuses. When I was churning through the first draft of TLW, I got up at 4 AM every weekday and wrote till I had to go to the office at 9 AM. In the last few months, though, since I’ve been fixing up TLW for the next go-round (due in early-to-mid-December), I haven’t been able to wake up at 6 AM, let alone 4. The old way didn’t work anymore. Still, I tried to squeeze work out of those two hours, which more often than not resulted in nothing but frustration and a crummy mood.

Then I remembered, with Chris’s help, that big expanses of time are what work for me. (That’s why I love residencies so much, as infrequently as I get to do them.) Now I’m setting aside weekends for nothing but writing. My weekday evenings will be for family, friends, reading, cooking. Whatever I like. Then on the weekends, I clear off the kitchen table, set up my little arrangement of a candle, water, and so forth, and go.

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