On Writing Regularly

It’s one of those bits of advice tossed out to writers: Write every day. Stephen King said that you needed to write on Christmas and birthdays, too. Don’t skip a day!

Well, I’ve been skipping days. There’s two reasons behind it. We’ve moved. (I feel like I should have a T-shirt with that saying on it. It would be black. Maybe there would be a skull and crossbones under those words. The shirt would be torn. There might be some paint on it, and it would smell faintly of sweat.)

Since we moved, everything has changed. I have a new office. I have a new writing bed. My glass duck Ludwig now stares at me while I type. He is thrilled. And, honestly, Ludwig, so am I. But this is the first time I’ve actually sat up here. It’s the first time the room has been somewhat put together. And I have piles of day job work that I need to complete because, along with its pleasant surprises, moving has prompted unexpected costs.

And then there’s my seasonal philosophy, as in every day is not a day of linear writing. For me it often boils down to this: August is brainstorming and writing. September through December is writing the draft, often many times. In January, I let go of the draft to my beta readers. Then I process their feedback and revise. The draft then goes to the developmental editor. If she says it’s okay, that’s a huge hurdle jumped, accompanied with more revision, then the proofreader, then me reading it over again, and then on to production. And this schedule has pretty much followed that course escept it feels I have had lots of waiting time this year, and even though I say to myself that I could start on new books. I could research others, I don’t. I seemed tied to this book until this process is over.

Today was the first time that I felt afraid about it. Had I abandoned my muse? Will I be able to write again once it’s August again? Do I even feel like a writer any more? It tells me that I need to dream up new tricks to keep me feeling connected. It reminds me of the importance of going deep, even if it’s only for five or fifteen minutes to spend time with myself and with my story. When there are deadlines and boxes all over, it’s often the last thing I want to do, but I need to remember and honor that need to touch base.