Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Routine

One of the most difficult things for me (and many other writers) was and is forming a routine. Everyone tells you that you MUST write everyday. This is truly daunting (especially when you have a little one running around) but as many have said, if you are serious about your craft you do it anyway.

I am part of a writers group and recently one of our own received a book deal. How did she do it? This woman has a full time job and three children! The answer was simple, she wrote everyday. I even found out she took a weekend and stayed at a hotel in town to work on her book. Now that is a GREAT idea!

So in my efforts to gather inspiration for myself - and you - I found a lovely website dedicated to the topic of artist routines. Here you will find out about the daily plans of creatives like Simone de Beauvoir, W.H. Auden and Stephen King.

One of my favorites was this exchange between the reporter for The Paris Review and de Beauvoir,


Do your writer friends have the same habits as you?


No, it's quite a personal matter... 
(The Paris Review, Spring-Summer 1965)

De Beauvoir's statement is the key. Your routine- your habits, your plans - are your own. They must fit you, no one else. If you (or I) are going to write anything that is meaningful we should stick with a routine that suits our individual lifestyle. 

But you must have a routine. As you can tell, if you are following my blog or tweets (@sampsonwriter), I am slowing creating my own unique plan. 

I will end with an excerpt from the page about 
Anthony Trollope's routine. 

Every day for years, Trollope reported in his “
Autobiography,” he woke in darkness and wrote from 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., with his watch in front of him. He required of himself two hundred and fifty words every quarter of an hour. If he finished one novel before eight-thirty, he took out a fresh piece of paper and started the next. The writing session was followed, for a long stretch of time, by a day job with the postal service. Plus, he said, he always hunted at least twice a week. Under this regimen, he produced forty-nine novels in thirty-five years. Having prospered so well, he urged his method on all writers: “Let their work be to them as is his common work to the common laborer. No gigantic efforts will then be necessary. He need tie no wet towels round his brow, nor sit for thirty hours at his desk without moving,—as men have sat, or said that they have sat.”

(The New Yorker, June 14, 2004)

Here is to routines and the morning coffee that so often accompanies them.

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