Writers sometimes ask me, “What should I do between books?”
There should never be a “between books.”
Don’t blow your momentum.
Myself, I want to be ninety pages into the next book before I finish the one I’m working on now. My aim is to move seamlessly from one to the other. If I knock off Book #13 on Tuesday, I’m deep into the trenches on #14 Wednesday.
Resistance loves it when we stop working.
I have a friend at the gym who used to hang out with Jack Lalanne. He said Jack had a rule.
It’s okay if you skip a day working out. But on that day you’re not allowed to eat.
Jack had another axiom:
Every day you skip takes six days to make up.
Can that be true? I have no idea. But I know every day of writing we miss makes it that much harder when we come back.
Bail on three days and our writing muscles start going soft.
Skip a week and we’re falling behind the eight-ball.
Miss a month and it’s like starting over from scratch.
Stephen King writes three-sixty-five, including Christmas and his birthday.
There should be no “between books.”
Good reference to Stephen King’s habits. From his book, “On Writing”:
“I used to tell interviewers that I wrote every day except for Christmas, the Fourth of July, and my birthday. That was a lie. I told them that because if you agree to an interview you have to say *something”, and it plays better if it’s something at least half-clever. Also, I didn’t want to sound like a workaholic dweeb (just a workaholic, I guess). The truth is that when I’m writing, I write every day, workaholic dweeb or not. That *includes* Christmas, the Fourth, and my birthday (at my age you try to ignore your [email protected]@am birthday anyway).”
Love this! Momentum is everything…as always, thanks.
It’s not possible for me to write every day. Too many oth er commitments. BUT, on the days I am not writing, I think and plan and plot what I am going to write next. I always liked Hemingway’s comment that you should quit writing at the precise moment you know what happens next. When I am not writing I feel like a kid on his way to the candy storee.
You might also heed Hemmingway when he said he has a rule never to think about writing when he wasn’t writing.
This rings absolutely TRUE. Ouch but real. Momentum is too easily lost to be worth stopping.
Thank you for this cold splash in the face Steve 🙂
I love this. I recently learned this thing. There is no finish line! It has been so helpful. Life has some how gotten easier. I don’t get agitated anymore when things just go on and on. Does this make my sense?
Thanks for that Steve. Owing to the fact that I’ve learned from you what that things is called (resistance) I can now catch myself not writing for all those fake reasons (research, spreadsheeting, brainstorming, etc.). I don’t always beat it right away but the shelf life of resistance is steadily decreasing. All because I know it’s name. I wrote today. Cheers for that.
Tyler Cowen (professor, philanthropist, author) was on Tim Ferriss podcast this week. Says he writes 365 days a year, and has published a daily blog every day since 2003. For years he was writing to a tiny audience. The interview is not all about writing but it’s worth seeking out.
I adore people who think and behave this way. They are my hero’s. I love knowing that we are all secret agents for the creative process, that we all have the same disease and are grateful for it.
Amen and Amen. All envision is the climax scene in Hacksaw ridge—keep moving and live
Truly helpful… I’ve been away from my regular blog to work on a magazine article so telling myself makes sense….but DOES NOT. I’m now actually avoiding my blog. Thanks
Dr Linda Moore
Typed fist version of my comment in “ wrong space” tech challenged!
I stepped away from writing a regular blog to finish several magazine articles. Thought okay…. but has seemingly caused me to avoid my blog writing! This info had been truly helpful. Thanks!
Thanks again. Thought I was crazy for working on two together, yet so virtuous. You called my bluff on the definition of ‘writing’ again. Such an easy deceit. Love this unmasking of lies.
When hopelessness crowd by 9-5 job, wishing to quit full time job for full time writer’s life.
Have you considered that there’s great value in a part-time writer’s life.
This sounds admirable. However, the fact that it works /has worked for many big names does not make it automatically applicable for everyone. I believe the trick is to figure out our creative rhythms are and build upon them. In order to figure them out, we are required to experiment with different routines and habits until we settle into one that empowers us optimally.
Thanks, Steve. I agree. Resistance is shrewd but we are writers–that’s what we are. And to remain writers, we must write and keep writing.
I write every single day – when I’m not working at my computer I carry a little notebook with me because ideas and themes and bits of dialogue keep popping up in my mind. I’ve known writers who insist they have to find their rhythm or wait for their muse to inspire them, and inevitably they are the ones who complain about writer’s block. I don’t believe in writer’s block, I believe in discipline.
Marquita Hearld, that was helpful.
Resistance is such a life stealer.
What pseudonym do you write fiction under?
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Stephen King writes three-sixty-five, including Christmas and his birthday.
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I’ve been learning this thing lately. There is no end to the line! It was so helpful. Life is a little easier. Now I’m not moving in just things and in wiki page creation
It’s a great motivation! I agree, that each time you don’t work, someone work in “full sweat”. So you don’t just stand still, you start falling behind. This is the reason why I work really hard on my project チャットラブ – I understand the responsibility towards people who are trying to meet foreigners and want to learn foreign languages. And every day that I’m not on a project, they don’t get anything in return.
Recently, I’ve been researching this. The queue never moves faster! It was quite beneficial. The going has gotten slightly simpler. I’m not simply shifting stuff around anymore.
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I’ve been doing some study on this topic recently. The line never seems to move any quicker! It was quite helpful in many ways. The traveling is now somewhat easier than it was before. No longer am I just rearranging things in their current locations.