Thursday, September 24, 2015

If you want something done, ask a busy person

Two of my students pulled me aside this week to ask about how often I write, and my habit is so incredibly simple I thought I'd post about it: I write a little bit when I can and as often as I can.

Since becoming a freelancer, I love everything that I do. Well, not everything, but let's say I love about 97% of what I do. I feel as though I'm contributing to community, feeding my art, and feeding others' desires to create art. But my schedule is rather insane. I work 20 hours a week managing a Writers-in-Communities program for Gemini Ink, which I'm finally starting to get the  hang of. I teach an online class and will be teaching two classes online come October, I teach adult ed short story workshops one day a week in the evenings, I take on a maximum of two writing students each month who get personalized attention and support (I am a freelance writing coach and plan to take on more students in the future in exchange for giving up my work as an adjunct (love teaching online, but tired of being part of the machine), and I occasionally do some business writing), and still, still I am a WRITER first. Here's a very abridged version of my schedule:
  • Sunday: Wake up at 5:30 (repeats daily): Introduce myself to online class, prep for Intro to the Short Story (an in-class Adult Ed course), dog park, errands, shopping, WRITE, have dinner with husband
  • Monday: Go to Gemini Ink, the literary nonprofit I work at, read forty emails (I don't check work email over the weekend), check in with projects and work away till 4PM; get home, review writing coach student's work, cook dinner, WRITE, check online class, maybe watch some TV or read
  • Tuesday: Meet with writing coach student, WRITE, Zumba, go home and take a nap, prep and then teach a 3 hour workshop, check online class
  • Wednesday: Go to Gemini Ink, work a full shift, cut paychecks for writers, go home and make dinner
  • Thursday: WRITE, Read another writing coach student's work, return student one's work, check online class, go to Zumba, go to my husband's office party
  • Friday: Meeting at a WIC site 8AM, meeting at a WIC site at 9AM, Gemini Ink, Zumba, WRITE, poetry reading by the students - strong, homeless women with children who wrote dynamic poems as a part of our WIC program, probably cry, go out to drinks with husband
  • Saturday: WRITE, Zumba, Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
The writing comes in 10-20 minutes most days. Why? Because I'd be insane without it. I know some people who have far more time on their hands but worry about carving out a schedule. Time is about perception. When I had a more regular schedule--when I was rich in time but low on inspiration--I was, in fact, less productive. Although it took some adjusting when I made changes, since adapting I have revised my 75K word novel, written a novella that may become something bigger, and realized I am a fourth of the way through Rattle: A Novel-in-Stories.

The ideal routine or residency or writing life may vary for people, so it might be wise to stop looking for it? Maybe just live. Let it emerge.

Prompt: Write for 20 minutes every day this week. Without fail. Time of day doesn't matter, location doesn't matter, just write. Even if you don't feel like it, even if you feel uninspired. Just write.

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