There are a few schools of thought on the subject of writing. Or perhaps put more succinctly, on how writing occurs.
There are those people who suggest habits and iron-clad routine:
Get up at 5 am! Write for 6 hours! Never ever miss a day or how the hell can you call yourself a writer?
This, I respectfully submit, might be called the Hardass Approach. I think they might be the same people who insist on outlines but I’m not sure…
I kind of grew up under this plan.
Only difference was that I was learning piano…oh, and this might be a good time to point out that I had absolutely zero interest in learning the piano. However. That was not the point. The point was to work hard at whatever was set in front of me. Perspire and persevere were the unspoken operative words.
Self-discipline was the mantra (not that any self-respecting Mennonite of my childhood would have ever said a mantra…or, for that matter, known what one was. But still…).
The opposing view goes like this:
Walk, have bubble baths, drink Scotch, shop, swan about and await the butterfly wings of the muse to alight upon your unfurrowed brow. In between the muse’s visits, dip into the occasional depression and have the odd cigarette to mollify yourself at how misunderstood and underappreciated you are.
This might be called the Indulged Flake Approach.
Given that I have spent a large part of my life either going 0 or 100 mph, with wildly vascillating approaches to writing (and to life), I am happy to report that I have more or less adopted a middle-of-the-road approach.
I believe that yes, I need to show up at the page. That is, I need to sit down at my laptop, open up the blank document or project I’m working on and take a stab at some action. I’m pretty sure that the muse might have a better chance of finding me if I meet the little winged creature halfway.
I no longer subscribe to the notion that I am an abject failure and tossed from the inner circle of ‘real’ writers, if life gets in between my writing moments.
In fact, I think that’s the point isn’t it? To have a life?
A life that includes writing as opposed to writing that excludes life…
It’s tricky, this ‘balanced writer’s life’ thing, but with every day I am allowed to still be on this earth, I swear it feels a little more attainable.
A little of this. A little of that.
First this. Then that.
An approach I recommend.