Shelter in Place: Day 13

Woof. This documenting the days spent largely indoors is not easy. If only I were creative.

Yesterday I spent 7 straight hours on video calls: first a virtual birthday party, then family catch-up, then work, then straight into my writing group. I can barely stand to look at the screen to write this.

On the plus side,  I have finally (after nearly 2 weeks) figured out that I can use the top of my bookshelf as a standing desk! So brilliant.

I’ve been reading the book “The Writing Life” by Annie Dillard. (Thanks, Lira!) One of the themes that Dillard touches on is the “writer’s schedule“. It’s something I’ve been interested in for years. Obviously each writer has their own schedule and there’s no universally approved writing schedule that is guaranteed to make you a master of the craft. But it is interesting to note a few commonalities.

  1. Writers are walkers. Gabriel Garcia Marquez took his daily walk. Dillard lists Nietzsche, Wallace Stevens, Dante and Emerson as daily walkers. Darwin took walks. It makes sense. I draw a lot of inspiration and creative energy from my walks around the neighborhood, or while I am traveling, my walks of discovery. Getting the blood flowing to and through the brain is vital to keeping the brain working.
  2. Writers are regimented. I think we have this romantic idea that writers go about their daily life haphazardly. The kooky creative genius who suddenly in the middle of gardening shouts “Eureka!” and runs to the nearest typewriter/word processor. Not true. Just as scientific discoveries aren’t (often) the result of a single moment, so too are written works much more a matter of perspiration than inspiration. I write every day. Not because I’m particularly gifted or talented or inspired, but because if I don’t write every day, then I won’t write at all. I was listening to some podcast once about writing, and someone (maybe Elizabeth Gilbert?) used the analogy of “showing up for the muse”. I think of it also in terms of the 10,000 hours necessary to master any skill. I and other writers didn’t become good writers overnight. It requires time and commitment.
  3. Writers are weird. It is my opinion that anyone who voluntarily decides to work a job they don’t have for money they aren’t getting and recognition they likely won’t see in their lifetime is some sort of strange. That’s seen in their schedules, too. Whether that’s Schiller and his rotting apples or James Joyce and his blue colored pencils. I don’t know that I’ve achieved this level of peculiarity. I do have some superstitions about when I work: I can’t edit in the morning and I can’t free-write in the evenings. I also believe in the power of dreams and vivid dreaming and do a lot of dream-work under the assumption that my unconscious is much more powerful than my conscious brain will ever be.

So, that’s what I’ve got on writers and their schedules so far.

When I was in college working over the winter break, I developed a pretty strict routine. I woke up at 5:00AM to get to Blue Monday’s right as it opened. I was often there before the barista. I would write for two hours before going to work at the Residential Office. I would edit in the evenings after work.

Now my schedule is much less restricted, but still regimented. I wake up every day at 7:00AM, make myself coffee, go for a walk around the neighborhood and then write for a few hours with lots of stretching (time allowing). I eat lunch at 1:00PM, and then spend the afternoon editing the morning’s work. I have dinner around 5:00PM and then a period of “socializing” and reading before bed at 11:00PM. Obviously, I have to make changes for working from home with my full-time job, but overall I try to follow the schedule when I can.

Anyway, time for me to go back to work. Oh, I also found out yesterday I’m on the waitlist for Boise State University. So still waiting for other people make up their minds.

That’s all for now.


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