“Being a novelist,” a rather well-known novelist once told me, “often means going into the office, closing the door, and flipping through magazines.”
During my decades as a writer, I’ve found this to be mostly true.
Writing does not come naturally to most of us. Even when it does, the elusive Muse has her ways of leveling the playing field. I spend more time avoiding writing than I do actually writing.
Here are some of the ways I avoid writing, past and present: Take a long hot bath, go running, go walking, play with a Rubik’s Cube, play computer games (Solitaire, Spider Solitaire….), try a new and preferably difficult recipe, check email, dink around on Facebook, call a friend, go to lunch with a friend, go out in the garden and pull weeds vigorously, get tired and take a nap, walk to the bakery (this I plan to do imminently), read a book.
I call it “chasing the Muse”. Others may call it goofing off. What I do know is this: Somehow over the years I’ve managed to produce enough published copy to fill several file drawers. I’ve written two nonfiction books, two novels (one in its final run-through), plus a cookbook for my daughter and many, many projects that will never see the light of day.
While I’ve not been as prolific as I once hoped to be, Novel Number 2 is in the final stretch, at least as far as the writing goes. Novel three is brewing and forming as I walk, garden, eat, soak in the bathtub, cook, or goof off.
And yes, I manage to write every day. It happens first thing when I get up, right after I pour the coffee, and it lasts about half an hour–more when I’ve actually got something to say. It may or may not have anything to do with my current project, but it does maintain the flow. For this writer, flow is everything.