Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Day of Silence: Relearning the lesson


Place your writing front and center

Sunday was a very productive writing day, even if it wasn’t 100% silent. I relearned lesson that bears regular relearning: Carve out time to write.

Of course, writing time isn’t just sitting with a drink poured for the muse. It means drafting, revising, submitting, reading and keeping everything organized (sober, of course. Or maybe with strong coffee.)

On Sunday, I woke up early, did some online teaching work, attended a nearby yoga class and then settled down to attend to the business of writing. By the early evening, I was so excited that my husband was returning home from China later that night that I couldn’t focus anymore. I had worked for about six hours, which is a good chunk of time immersed in my writing.  

We all have too much to do 24 hours a day. Many of us have jobs that stretch past the regular 9 – 5 schedule. My adult online students are most active before and after work, and on the weekends. Especially on the weekends and holidays. Knowing that, I can’t ignore it.

This teaching schedule offers me some flexibility during regular work hours. And with that flexibility requires focus to continue with the creative projects. Sometimes it is hard to remember that it is possible to make time because of all the other household duties and, of course, sometimes taking a rest. The good news is that all of these aspects – from resting to interacting with new people and challenging ourselves – feeds writing.

I learned this lesson about dedicating time for writing when I applied to graduate school, then in graduate school and later in every program or residency that I’ve attended since then. Working and social lives do get in the way, as the cliché goes, and we need to actively keep our writing lives active and prioritized. If I’m not attending a program, then I need to do what I can to remind myself periodically.

So while we don’t have to completely just shut up for a day (as the Black Eyed Peas sing), we must work to relearn this lesson. 

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