But what am I writing?
At a reading I gave last week, an audience member asked me if I wrote every day. “Yes,” I said. “I write every single day, even on weekends.” The next day, I started to wonder if I’d given a totally honest answer. The part about writing every day was true, but I didn’t elaborate on what, exactly, I wrote.
I’m in awe of writers who produce enormous numbers of words – i.e., the magical one thousand words a day – which I’ve never been able to match. I think more in hours per day spent writing than in number of words written per day. My writing hours vary from 8 to 1, depending on the day. Sometimes all I can manage is a sentence in my journal.
I thought I would track my writing for the next few days. Here are the results.
Thursday: I worked on curriculum for the summer workshop, Digital Storytelling, then fiddled with a poem about a smashed car I saw on the road near my house. I finished a poem based on my horoscope and wrote a few lines in my journal.
Friday: I began the next review for Sticks & Stones, worked on curriculum, and engaged in more poem-fiddling. I started this blog post.
Saturday: I spent the afternoon poem-fiddling. I wondered if I should have removed the word “beautifully” from the poem I just submitted. I decided to change it if the poem is rejected.
Sunday: After walking the dog, I changed the title of a poem I’m working on from “Earthquake Country” to “Emerald City” and worked on it for an hour. I made notes for future blog posts: poets who are also farmers and poets who write in a foreign language. I attended a reading and made a little word pool: tenuous, star, watershed, expect, house, color, old, sweet, gridlock.
Monday: I had an early-morning appointment that went until noon. After lunch, I spent the rest of the day wrangling emails and uploading videos. I worked on blog posts and the review.
Tuesday: I worked on the summer workshop curriculum and started the next “Reading Life” article, which will be about the dangers of not reading and writing. I spent too much time updating spreadsheets. I finished this blog post and wrote a few lines in my journal.
What did I accomplish in the last six days? Finished: one poem and one blog post. In process: two poems, summer camp curriculum, future blog posts, and the next review for Sticks & Stones. This is not a very impressive list of accomplishments, but it is a realistic look at what I meant when I responded, “Yes, I write every day.”
Categories: This Writer's Life
Thank you so much for sharing your process and keeping a log. I agree its a good idea to try and write every day as well as read the words of others too. But sometimes a day is a drought and another may turn into a torrent of words and works. Seem to work that way for me. I think that is why I like Haiku as a concurrent form because 17 syllables is just 3 lines that seem doable and put me in the mood to write more.
Thanks again for taking your time to write this post.
Good point about haiku. For about a year, I wrote a haiku each day as a warm-up for writing. It’s the opposite of freewriting pages and pages in an attempt to stumble across something useable. All methods work, but not for everyone, and not all of the time.
Thanks for sharing insights into your routine. Well written 🙂 Thanks.
I also wrote about my journey as a writer, how I developed a daily writing habit, and a few tips that have worked for me to minimize distraction. Do visit my website and check out the article.
Let me know if you like it 🙂