This blog post is inspired by Sonya Huber’s Feb. 4 post, “Setting the Bar Low.” There’s been a lot of talk lately about lifting the veil from the writing process–how we write, when we write, who sponsors us. (I’ll be writing about that topic soon). So here’s my writing process as it looks during the semester.
This semester, I have an hour on Tuesday and Thursday mornings to write. I don’t teach on Fridays, so I try as much as possible to spend the morning or afternoon writing on those days. Then I grab whatever time I can on the weekend in between grading, prepping, running, dates with my husband, down time watching movies, reading, etc.
This morning was a typical writing morning. That is, not entirely productive.
6:30. Pour a cup of coffee. Try to take an Instagram photo of my mug. Not enough light.
6:32. Open a chapter that I haven’t look at for more than a month. I have no real plans for this hour. I like to have a specific goal—i.e. organize an essay, write a paragraph or two, work on an outline, start a new piece. Without a concrete goal, I worry that this hour will go like so many of my past writing hours with the end result of not really anything getting done.
6:40. I’ve read the first two paragraphs and made some notes.
6:41. Check my work calendar. I think I have a meeting at 3 p.m. That might be good to confirm.
6:42. Go back to the chapter. Keep reading. I’m not sure what I’m looking for, but whatever. I make a goal to read through the six pages by the end of the hour.
6:47. Download a podcast before I forget. I might have time over lunch to listen to it.
6:48. Return to chapter.
6:55: Add a little more coffee to my almost-empty mug. I put the mug in decent light and take a picture. Post to Instagram.
6:58: Go back to chapter.
7:05. I hit a rhythm. I haven’t read this chapter for a month but I still like it. That’s a sign that it’s going somewhere. OK, I feel good.
7:10. Finish reading through the chapter. I note places I want to expand or explore, but with my last 20 minutes I’m not going to do that today.
7:11. Prepare a query letter for this project.
7:22. Open email in order to send the query letter. I try not to open email during my writing hour. Oops.
7:35. Send the query.
I could try to get up earlier to write, and I often think about that. I remember hearing that David Abrams gets up at 3 a.m. EVERY DAY TO WRITE. Holy buckets! That’s dedication. But I do like my sleep. However, if I have a hard deadline, I will do whatever it takes to meet that deadline. Except getting up at 3 a.m. Probably the earliest I could drag myself out of bed would be 5 a.m., and even that’s a stretch.
My next writing opportunity is in two days. Thursday morning, here I come!