Monday, July 13, 2009


When all else fails, I return to my old routines. When it comes to writing, I have to get going on the keyboard. That old exercise of doing morning pages has always come to my rescue.

Here's what I do. I have a Nokia phone with a countdown timer on it. When I first wake in the morning, before I do anything else, before the night's dreams have evaporated, I set the timer for ten minutes and begin writing. I have years of notebooks of hand-written pages. These days, I'm doing it directly on the computer. Either way, ten minutes, no editor, no going back, just stream writing. Sometimes I just write complaints about stuff in my life. But I like to write about writing. This is a time to write about ideas, formats, what I think about my current writing projects, brainstorm. It helps me to start the day thinking about my novel or a flash I'm working on or to flesh out an idea that presented itself when I didn't have a notebook handy.

After the timer goes off, I read something inspirational. One of my favorites is to have a book of Mary Oliver's poetry next to my bed. I think her work is gorgeous. Her poetry fills me with wonder and gratitude. It makes me feel included in the flow of life.

Wherever I go from there with my day, I will take thoughts of writing with me, whispering on my shoulder.

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