We have a reading series at the college and when our famous writers (and not-so-famous writers) visit, a question I always ask is, "When do you write?"
Sometimes they don't write every day. "Not at all?" I ask (aghast).
"I need big blocks of time," they tell me. "I'm really busy," they tell me. "I'm too busy to write." Sometimes these writers are successful writers, visiting my college because they have new books and lovely writing awards. "The writing will wait," a short story writer told me last year. She was young and had a two-year old. But there was a time in my life when I had two two-year olds, and I still wrote every day. I can easily imagine myself saying, "I know just what you mean. I can't possibly write every day. I have two eighteen-year olds and a twelve-year old. I have a teaching career and a one-hour commute, and..." I understood exactly what this young writer was saying. To use the overused cliche, my heart went out to her. But I wanted to add, "Honey, you should write every day."
We have no time except today.
Here's a quote about daily writing from Priscilla Long's The Writer's Portable Mentor:
"Writing every day is the key to becoming a writer. Writing every day is the key to remaining a writer. It is the only secret, the only trick. Don't despise the fifteen-minute write. Don't despise writing in your journal. Don't despise writing down your complaints for fifteen minutes before going to work. Any writing counts." (13)
Long also advises that although some days will allow for longer writing sessions, what you do one day can't be applied to the next. If you write for two hours on Monday, you still have to get up on Tuesday and write ... for at least fifteen minutes.
And that is why, even though I worked on my article for an hour today during Writing Lab, I still don't get a gold star for yesterday.