To be honest, I was a little surprised to find an op-ed piece in the Sunday New York Times entitled “On Not Writing” wherein columnist and author Bill Hayes talks about when it is OK not to write. I thought he was kidding. He’s not.
It’s pretty straightforward, to tell you the truth. Sometimes the words just don’t come, and according to Hayes that is just OK. “Just as the body needs time to rest, so too does an essay, or a book,” says Hayes. While this feels right, it flies in the face of everything I am told by the writing community. Walter Mosley writes two hours a day every morning, even when he’s on vacation. Or at least that’s what he said in an article I read in Writers Digest some years back. Stephen King writes every day–always has, always will. Somerset Maugham spent his mornings writing…and his evenings doing whatever people with servants and a social life normally do. All these articles and columns point to the notion that not writing every day is not OK.
I struggle to write daily. Sometimes I am so busy it doesn’t occur to me. Or I write in my head and later beat myself up it as I stare at that bloody, accusatory, blank computer screen. Well, enough of all that.
I have a perfectly good story going. It just so happens that at the moment I am not in charge of the timeline. Meanwhile I work three days a week, and otherwise keep busy with my Airbnb rental, gardening, housekeeping, promoting The Difficult Sister, hanging out with friends, eating, reading, and even sleeping. The days have been full…and good…so why fight? I even managed to squeeze in a little vacation, had a great time, was planning to write every day, and it didn’t happen. The body is somewhat rested now. In less than a week, September begins.
Everyone has their season for new beginnings. Autumn has always been mine. I’ve revisited my work on the new book to date, updated some important changes. It’s not as far along as I’d like it to be, but it’s going great.