A Net for Catching Days

Routines and schedules are important.

Annie Dillard calls them a net for catching days.

Without some sort of routine, you’re losing time.

* * * * *

Stephen King says, “My own schedule is pretty clear-cut…once I start work on a project, I don’t stop and I don’t slow down unless I absolutely have to. If I don’t write every day, the characters begin to stale off in my mind – they begin to seem like characters instead of real people. The tale’s narrative cutting edge starts to rust and I begin to lose my hold on the story’s plot and pace.”

But he’s a professional writer, we protest. He has the time to do this. Yet he did this even before he was a professional writer, when he had a “real” job and rent to pay and Ramen noodles to buy.

I have a friend, Bryan Allain, who works long hours at a normal job. Yet he’s an incredibly successful blogger, and blogging coach. How does he do it? He gets up every morning, early, before breakfast, and writes.

Sometimes this is what it takes.

* * * * *

Wait for the muse, if you dare. And watch the weeks slip by. Be witness to another year in which your writing goals get written over on to yet another New Year’s resolution list.

Or commit. Hold yourself accountable (or better yet, be accountable to someone else). Create a routine. Don’t write 60,000 words. Write 1000 words a day, for 60 days.

And watch the days begin snagging in your net. Watch the words begin to fill the pages. Next time, when the muse shows up, you’ll be ready.

4 Replies to “A Net for Catching Days”

  1. Good word, sir, good word, indeed. I’m finding that if I just show up the words come. Where they come from I don’t know, but I’m grateful.

  2. How would you use the 1k-words-per-day goal for poets, or is that a false equivalency? 100 haiku?

    I’m teasing gently, of course, but one of my slight gripes about writers’ blogs is that they tend to be geared toward those whose primary genre is prose — and some things just don’t translate.

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