Inspiration #22

Every Sunday, I choose a passage of wisdom from someone who knows better and much more than I do about writing, life, the universe and/or everything.

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“But how in our busy lives do we get any writing done in the first place? Often, at the moment a student begins to say, ‘But I have a full-time, demanding job, a family’—I cut her off: ‘What’s the word?’

She makes a little perplexed face. I spell it out: ‘S-T-R-U-C-T-U-R-E—we’ve been talking about it all week. Structure your time.’

Open those date books that Americans are so fond of and schedule in writing time, and be realistic. If you have a busy week, don’t beat yourself up for not being able to write every day because when you don’t—and I promise you, there will be days you won’t—you’ll hate yourself. Beware of sweeping commitments: they usually have the opposite effect. Rather than writing every day, you’ll write no days. Instead, be pragmatic: look at your calendar. If next week you can fit in only half an hour for writing on Tuesday from ten to ten-thirty, in the morning, good. Mark it down. Do you have another window of time? For how long? Let’s push it further—where will you write? At the Blue Moon Café? OK, you’ve made a date, and like any other—with the dentist, the accountant, the hairdresser—you have to keep it. You’re committed, it’s in your appointment book.

Do you see how important it is to be precise? Leave no space for indecision, set everything in advance. All you have to do is show up, open your notebook and push the pen.

~from Thunder and Lightning, by Natalie Goldberg

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