Last night Jonathan Lethem (see previous post for more on his lecture) talked about the one and only rule he follows for a writing schedule. He does not write to a specific word or page count. What he does do is write something every day, even if its only for 15 minutes.
Lethem says that writing daily keeps his subconscious engaged and expresses his commitment. He says he’s a "tortoise" when it comes to writing, averaging about a page a day, and so its especially important for him to follow his rule.
I believe in doing this too. Fervently.
There have been periods in my life when I have written 2000 words a day on my novel. Notice I said, "there have been periods." Because I’m certainly not in one now.
In truth, I’m probably writing at least 2000 words a day, sometimes much more. But its not on my novel. Its for SEO copy writing.
In my weekly writing group we talk about momentum, which is the same thing that Jonathan Lethem is talking about. Its much harder to maintain momentum on a project when you’re only working on it once a week or so.
The funny thing is, I have a reputation for prodigious writing habits. One night in my group everyone asked me to explain in detail how I get so much writing done on my novel. I told them how I got up every morning at 6 and tried to get a couple hours in on the novel before breakfast.
But now I’m not doing that. I’ve had to change my schedule to accomodate the copy writing which is taking over my life.
Part of being creative is being disciplined. Doesn’t seem like it should be so, but it is. And I am nothing if not disciplined. I actually work best when I’m chained to my desk, as I have been for the last couple of weeks.
Now if only I could figure out how to arrange it so all these writing hours were devoted to the novel. Sell it and make money, I guess.