every damn day

Most of us have heard (and don’t follow) the advice to write every day.  Today I came across a reason why we should take this advice to the ends of the earth if not the end of the page.

Once you engage in writing a piece of fiction from your unconscious, it is crucial that you write every day, because the nature of this place where you go is such that it’s very difficult to find your way in.  It’s pure torture.  But even though it’s terrible getting in, once you’re in, if you keep going back every day, though it’s still always daunting and difficult and scary, it’s not nearly so much so.  You may find–this is dangerous, but you may find–that you can take a day off every six or seven days.  When you do, you’ll be grumpy and out of sorts and things will be uncomfortable, but after a day you can go back in.  But you take two or three days off and you’re on very thin ice.  If you let three or four days go by it’s as if you’ve never written a word in your entire life.  That doorway closes and seals itself up; you don’t even know what part of the wall that door’s in anymore. –Robert Olen Butler’s From Where You Dream

This is true.  While I happen to like going through the door (in a weird sort of way), I hate looking for the damn thing.  I’ve not written enough lately.  My novel is on the other side of the door and is shouting for me to get the hell back.   
novel on the other side of the door

2 thoughts on “every damn day

  1. I agree. If you write everyday at the same time, then your subconscious gets used to this and kind of wakes up at that time everyday and says, “Okay. I got some ideas.” The more you do it, the more the ideas flow.

    However, putting this into practice, especially with a 16-month-old, is very difficult. At best, I snatch a few minutes here and there, and usually it’s easier to read a blog or, if I’m lucky, to write a blog. Because writing a novel takes greater concentration, and it’s hard to do that with a child singing or screaming in the room. And then by the time he naps, I’m exhausted, and I need a nap! Or I need to clean, cook or what-have-you.

    Still, if I find a solid hour, I work. It’s slow, but I’m not in a hurry.

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