I have got to find some kind of a pace that is steady and disciplined and uniform and pretty near the top of whatever I may be capable of, and stick to that . . . — Thomas Merton in a letter to Evelyn Waugh
I’m looking at a full day with no appointments, no time table, no schedule at all. I get a little giddy at the prospect because I have so much I can do – so much writing, so much research, so much reading. For my writing life, this is the best kind of day to have – full of freedom and openness.
But for me, as a person, it’s also a danger in a couple of ways. First, with so much time ahead of me, I tend to think I can dawdle and spend a lot of time doing little things – like picking a new blog theme or finding quotes to send to friends. Secondly, I’m a person who needs the company of people to feel healthy. I don’t need to actually be talking with people, just around them – like in a coffee shop – so that I don’t feel cut off and isolated. So a day without meetings or appointments can also really slow my writing down.
Like Merton, I’m trying to find that pace of discipline and uniformity while also honoring the freedom of no real schedule. It’s a tough balance. I want to stay up until 1am to write and read and think in the stillness of the night, but I also know I get good work done early in the morning before the day gets going too far. I haven’t hit on the right balance yet, but I’ll keep working on it – it seems really important.
All in all, though, I am privileged to have the freedom to figure this out. Most writers have jobs or families that dictate their schedules. Instead, I have simply me – blessing and curse that I may be.
So what is an open schedule for you as a writer – blessing or curse?