|Photo: Ashley Schweitzer via Minimography|
Today is Wednesday, and on Wednesdays, I meet a friend and fellow writer at Starbucks for a kind of mini retreat. We started this routine a few months ago as a way of nudging each other to sit and write, instead of allowing ourselves to get distracted by the plethora of other things - many of them valuable- that we could be doing instead. We devote part of the morning to writing tasks; ideally, we tackle our works-in-progress, but sometimes, blogs and the business of writing loom, and our characters get pushed aside.
Today, I'm struggling. My plethora of other things contains the usual blogs (two on Wednesdays), time-sensitive teaching tasks and a critique group meeting tonight. I know I should give my characters their due, but I'm afraid that if I do, other things - necessary things - won't get done.
And so the question that plagues part-time writers looms. Is it more responsible to push through the plethora, checking things off our non-writing lists so we can later write unencumbered? Or, do we push aside the plethora and focus on our writing? If so, which writing? The blogs? The characters? The critiques?
Creative pursuits demand a delicate combination of routine and inspiration. Yes, I have to park myself in my chair at the designated hour, but that doesn't mean the words will come. But, if I abandon my chair and the blank screen before me, all is lost - at least for that day.
So I set aside the time and hope for the best, knowing that reality dictates that some days, those time blocks get blown away by the have-to-dos. I track my time to stay accountable, set up systems that make it easy (or at least possible) to jump in where I left off, and hope for the best.
But some days, I just have to give up and grade papers. Even if it is Wednesday.
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