I think I am coming around to the write-two-pages-a-day plan. One of my professors has a habit of asking students every semester what our writing “schedule” is. The first semester I was in his class I said I liked to write in the mornings, but that I didn’t write every morning, and was easily distracted. I was still working on my schedule, I said. The next semester I was taking two workshops at once and I had to write every day or else my writing assignments wouldn’t get done. I told the class I wrote every morning. Which was pretty much true, with a day off here and there.
This is generally the routine I have been following, but there are some problems. One, if something is going on, say Billy and I want to go out for breakfast for example, I will just not end up writing that day. It’s all too easy for me to cancel my morning writing session. Two, I have a bad, bad habit of editing and revising the heck out of my work before I have finished it. There have been many times when I might have sat in front of the computer for 2-3 hours working on a piece of writing and not actually lengthened the piece at all, just fiddled with it.
So recently I decided that since this seems to be a method that works for a lot of people, I am going to try the two pages a day thing. That means even if I do spend 2-3 hours editing and revising, I still have add two pages of new writing. And if I am busy in the morning, I have to complete two pages – good or bad – sometime before I go to sleep at night.
I’m feeling pretty good about this. It’s actually less pressure than the more nebulous “I write in the mornings” kind of strategy. And two pages add up quick: That’s sixty pages a month and 720 pages a year! Even if I took one day off a week, which is probably unavoidable sometimes, that’s still 576 pages a year. Books can be written! I think this is going to be a more useful plan for post-grad school life, too. When I was working full time before, my writing definitely took a back seat to my job. But it doesn’t take long to write two pages, and if there’s limited time to do it, you’re forced to think about what your two pages are going to be about before you even sit down.