“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” –Stephen King, On Writing
Time for a little self-evaluation: Do you follow this train of thought?
For the first part, the reading, I think that I do pretty okay. Currently, however, (and I blame J.K. Rowling for this) I have gone through a ‘reading block’. I did not think something like this could happen. I mean, how do you not read? Just pick up the book, open the cover and let your eyes rove along the lines of words.
Nope. Since Harry Potter finished up I’ve been at a complete loss as to what to read. I think I wanted to pick up something un-put-down-able like HP but have been failing to tell myself that any book is good enough. Just read. Just do it.
Then, the night before last, it occurred to me to do the opposite. I would pick up a book that I knew I would not be able to finish in one shot. I picked up the largest, heaviest, thickest tome I could find, knowing I would have to put it down. No, not War and Peace. The book that I selected to pull me out of my reader’s block is Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke. And I’m sooo glad I did. It’s really quite good, but I can put it down without feeling guilty because it’s like a reading marathon…a good companion to the writing marathon I’m putting myself through.
As far as writing goes, King recommends a really strenuous writing program. And if I did not have a full time job and a kid and a half then I would gladly write for four to six straight without any complaining. I realize that this sounds like “I have no time” excuse, but I have a really hard time buying that when King was daddy to three small children and working in a laundry and/or teaching high school English that he wrote for six hours straight either. (Or maybe I should take up smoking?)
My writing schedule is something more like this:
Tues-Thurs: write while Owen is at school (three hours), if I have to work one of those days then I swing it during my lunch 15 minutes and sometime in the morning/afternoon depending on what shift I’m working.
Fri: generally a no-go
Sat-Mon: early in the morning is seeming to work best, I have anywhere from an hour to an hour and half.
I do try to write something everyday. Now that I am focusing on finishing my novel (seeing the home stretch!) then I keep my butt in the chair a little more than normal. So, I think I do okay. How’s about you other writers out there? Are you workaholics? Or write-when-the-mood-strikes? Or somewhere in between?