I confess that I’m having a difficult time getting in the groove of dedicating part of each day to writing. It’s not that I’m writing less now than I was when my schedule was incredibly packed, but then again, I’m not writing MORE. Then, like all freaky synchronistic incidents, I was reading an old BookPage during a break at the bookstore where I’m working occasionally and stumbled on an article about Ann Patchett (and her great new book State of Wonder).
Here’s the excerpt that whacked me up aside the head:
In 2008, Patchett and her husband were having dinner with Edgar Meyer, the acclaimed Nashville double bass player, and his wife. Patchett and Meyer were bemoaning the fact that they were spending too much time on the road and not enough time at the desk. Patchett recalls, “Edgar said, ‘You know, I had this revelation. I put a notebook at the door of my studio, and I clock in, and I clock out. I’ve discovered that the more hours I spend trying to write, the more I write.’” Patchett exclaims, with feigned amazement, “And I thought, wow! What a great idea! I’ve never done that… so I made a pledge to write every day and finished the book a year later.”
I confess that last month, I dedicated a notebook to keep track of the time I was spending writing and to keep a writing “to do” list for each day, JUST like Ann Patchett!!! For two days, I was a model student and then, I must shame-facedly confess, I stopped doing it. I was busy working outside the house and weeding and exploring art galleries and walking on the beach. When I returned after four or five days, the shame was too much. I tore the pages out (like that would erase my lack of commitment) and put the notebook away.
You know what, I’m pulling it out again. At least it will keep me honest with myself. Perhaps having a to-do list will keep me a little closer on track. It’s worth a try, right?
I love writing. Why is it so hard to make myself sit down and do it? Oh yeah, I’ve been living in rainy cold places for the last decade and now I’m someplace warmer (notice I didn’t say warm) with a beach, bookstores and art galleries. It’s like a new love affair, but I need to get my head back into the game. My writing is what I’m committed to – sure it’s a relationship that is sometimes stormy and difficult, but I can’t let this new love make me be unfaithful to one of the cornerstones in my life.
How do you keep your artistic life on track?