In general, human beings like the protective solidity of “rules.” We like to know that if we write one page every day, five days a week, we’ll finish a book in a year and be published in two. But life doesn’t work that way. It may be that writing a page a day is the perfect routine for us, and we will finish that book in a year. But it could also be that the rigidity of such a schedule will keep us from our ultimate productivity. It could be that we will work much better if we allow ourselves more flexibility and less pressure. In The Writer’s December 2010 article “Making time to write,” Cheryl Bolen points out that:
Every author’s goals, writing schedule, and methods are different. Some of us can whip out 20 pages a day; others labor to produce five. You need to determine if you work best doing a set number of pages, or hours, or scenes per day or per week. Which kind of writer are you? You must determine how you produce best.It’s vital that each author discover for himself the methods that work best for him. Just because Margaret Atwood does X and Stephen King does Y is no reason for us to blindly follow suit. Read widely, learn all you can about what works for other authors, and experiment to discover which methods will offer you the best results.
My own writing routine is a continually evolving process. What worked for me five years ago isn’t necessarily what works for me now, and what works for me now isn’t necessarily going to still work for me in another five years. With every new story I write, I learn a little bit more about myself and the routines that make me most productive. I’m constantly refining my work habits, always listening to my instincts, and paying attention when I feel I’m forcing myself to observe a stricture that just isn’t working.
The individual writer is the only expert into his own proficiency. Never feel as if you have to force your writing habits to mirror someone else’s—no matter how successful they may be in their own right. Find what works for you and stick with it.
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Making the Time to Write
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Story by K.M. Weiland