Can You Schedule Creativity?

Successful authors often advise aspiring writers to “write every day.” Even if it’s a few hundred words, the theory goes, you have something on paper, have established the muscle memory of writing, and even if the five hundred words are drivel, eventually, that drivel will morph into something marvelous if you keep writing. Not making time to write writing every day, we are cautioned, makes us less likely to write well and to finish what we started.

I liken this to the way songwriters make “appointments” to co-write with artists, a common practice in certain musical genres. Although it seems counter intuitive to make an appointment to create art, there must be merit to the process because so many successful people employ it.

Alas, I can’t partake. Like all “pantsers” I strike when the iron is hot, write until I run fallow and then take a nap. I can go for weeks, even months without writing anything and then go on a creative binge, smiling as I go because I know I’m writing something that was waiting to be written. Whenever I’ve tried the “write every day no matter how bad it is” method, I end up frustrated and surrounded by gobs of words I’ll never use. If it’s true that writers have muses, then mine loves to nap as much as I do. So I wait until she gets caffeinated and decides to pop an idea, a scrap of dialogue, whatever, into my head so I can write it. I know she’ll come when the time is right. I know she’ll help me figure out the sticky middle and how it’s going to end. I just know.

Also, she doesn’t take appointments.

Happy Labor Day weekend! Stay safe and read a good book.


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