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.