Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Dry Run

I’ve always had a few weeks off between semesters, but this is the first time I’ve looked on winter break as a dry run for retirement—or at least, the first time when retirement has been imminent. Just over four months now!

So I’ve been observing my habits more closely than usual. I know it’s not a realistic simulation, since I had to make syllabi for my classes, deal with book orders, handle a few bureaucratic matters, etc., but it’s as close as I’m going to come.

Results? I turn out to be very sporadic about writing. Some days I sit and type for hours, but on others, I squeeze out a sentence or two and run dry. I wish I had a routine—but there are so many to try (word count per day; number of hours per day;  number of scenes per day), and each one takes a long tryout time, and I’m afraid I’d get frustrated and quit before giving each a fair shot.

I remember hearing Sharon Creech speak shortly after she won a Newbery for Walk Two Moons. She said that after she had achieved this great success, she decided to take a writing class, because she couldn’t believe it was anything but a fluke. After a few lessons, she called her agent in a panic and said, “I’m doing it all wrong!”

The agent replied, “Sharon, your process is your process. Honor it.”

So I guess that’s what I’ll have to do: honor my process, unsatisfying as it seems. If I’m the sporadic type of writer, I guess that’s who I am.



  1. John Scalzi, on his blog Whatever, said his daily goal is 2,000 words or noon--whichever comes first. Setting a more modest goal seems useful. I never exercised regularly until I followed the research advice and moved it to the morning. I don't exercise every day, but I try to do it at least 5 days out of 7, and it never falls off my to-do list (although I've thought about spreading out my 3 miles a day throughout the day--but I never get around to that).

  2. I like that--word length OR time. Thanks, Jude!