An Appointment with Writing
The secret to writing is that there is no secret to writing. Merely: write.
I have written a number of books. I am not famous. But I persist in writing most days. There are those who will tell you that daily writing doesn't work, but there are plenty of successful writers for whom this is effective. There are many approaches to the daily practice, but I like to think of this time as an appointment I have with my writing.
My usual policy is to refrain from handing out advice that no one needs or wants or takes. But I don't mind giving out this writing advice:
Make small goals. Exceed them. If you write prose, write one paragraph a day. By the end of a year you will have 365 paragraphs. In a couple of years you will have written the first draft of a book. Some days you will write more than a paragraph, and some days, less.
When I wrote more poetry I would take notes toward a poem every day, and on Friday I would attempt to turn my notes into a poem. I produced several books by doing this.
The actual process is a lot messier and more organic than I'm describing, but it's a way of sticking with the work. It's a way of being loyal to your appointment, honouring your appointment, the same way you would make every effort to get to a dental appointment.
If you followed my previous blog, odds are you would have come across the following quotation which I read ages ago in a brilliant Annie Dillard book, For the Time Being.
Write in an old notebook, write with a pencil or whatever pen you have, dress comfortably, close the door if you have one, or sit at the kitchen table with all your books and your tea. Make an appointment. Write from 6 – 7 am. Write from 10 – 11 am. Write from 10 – 11 pm. Just make an appointment and write. You don't have to be fancy, you just need to get down to it.
Some days will be like wading through deep mud. Other days, joy.
Work. Keep digging your well.
Don't think about getting off from work.
Water is there somewhere.
Submit to a daily practice.
Your loyalty to that
is a ring on the door.
Keep knocking, and the joy inside
will eventually open a window
and look out to see who's there.
Make an appointment with your writing, and work. Why? Because: