The Rhythm Method

DSCN0042My friend Janet sent this to me with a “you go girl” card last week. (She’s such a thoughtful friend. Thanks, Janet.) Can you read it? The guy at the computer is typing “January 11: Still struggling with the novel. Chopped more firewood.” There are piles and piles of wood–and likely no fireplace.

I cracked up. Totally relate to this. In fact at this very moment, I’m “supposed” to be doing my five pages for today and instead “preparing to do my five pages” (read chopping firewood) by writing this blog. You see–I reason–if my schedule is clear, I can write straight on through with a wide open day. It actually says that on my Google Calendar: Wide Open Day.

But it’s really a game I play with myself because more wood will inevitably “need” to be chopped. It’s why they have Na-No-rimo (or the lesser known Jan-no-rimo which I did with my friend Lois who was writing a thousand words a day and I thought I’d copy her) or computer programs that force writers into a daily word count or writers groups with arbitrary deadlines and so forth. We’re all looking for a system, a rhythm method, to help us get our stories told.

And every once in awhile I find it: that writer’s sweet spot. Suddenly, words are just pouring out. I’m knocking out above quota each day, loving the pacing on my story if it’s a first draft, killing my darlings on a rewrite, loving the creative dance. I’m a writer. I’m writing. I’d like to bottle it. I could sell it at writer’s conferences and make a mint.

And then BAM. Time to chop firewood. You can just never have enough. (Doesn’t it feel cold in here? Don’t worry. I got this.)

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