day nine: developing a rhythm

"What if you coached in the morning and wrote during the afternoon? Or vice versa?" 

I was talking with a friend about this idea that wouldn't leave me alone about working with artists and those needing help articulating ideas. At the time, it was just a means to an end, a way to help pay our electric bill. 

"I don't want this to be a full time job," I said. 

Hindsight is 20/20.

I can't imagine not doing what I'm doing right now. Working with other writers + artists + entrepreneurs and helping them get their words and ideas out of their head and onto the page is exhilarating in the best way. But how do you juggle two full time jobs? How do you manage to wrestle with the story begging to be told and the to-do list that's demanding to be finished?

You develop a rhythm. 

I tried the split days at first. I thought it might work, but really, I was creating out of the same side of my brain and not really exerting my imagination the way I do when I write fiction. When I started writing SOMEWHERE BETWEEN WATER & SKY I quickly realized: I cannot write and do business on the same day. 

I started penciling in "writing days" on my calendar. I saw these moments as golden eggs — priceless and not to be touched. I never scheduled anything on these days. Conference calls, coaching sessions, coffee dates, library visits — nothing. I sat at my desk and wrote. I sat at my desk and re-read. I sat at my desk and wrote some more.

I tried cheating a few days. When I was nearing deadline and behind, there were afternoons where I thought I could catch up on word count after group coaching or a Skype with a client. 


I would just sit there, eyes on the screen, blinking cursor taunting me. 

My brain was in a different world — still solving problems and untangling thoughts from conversations I had during the day. 

Writing days are my rhythm. Blocking time is what's necessary for me to get my work done efficiently and within the deadline I've envisioned for my manuscript. 

But this is the most important sentence you'll read from me today: 

Rhythms are different for everyone. Just because I can't work on a manuscript the same day I've coached clients doesn't mean it'll be the same for you. 

You may appreciate the creative break, even thrive off of it.

What's important is that you make note: what works for you? What doesn't? When you're lost in the words and inspiration is overflowing, what's happening around you? Is there music playing? Is it quiet? Where are you writing? In your living room? A coffee shop? An office with the morning light streaming through the windows? When is the best time for you to write? 

Begin to pay attention. Energy ebbs and flows throughout the day. Our creativity is heightened after certain activities. Other things shut us down within a moment's notice.

Find your rhythm, and stick to it. Embracing your uniquely creative flow is one of the best ways to finish a project and write what you really want to write.

Need more inspiration? Introducing Hustle & Flow: a weekly letter with artistic visioning for the everyday creative. I would love it if you signed up, and I won't ever spam you. Promise. 

You'll get hints and anecdotes about getting unstuck and living your most artistic life within the midst of your every day poetics. AND, if you sign up during October, you'll get some special extras dealing with indie-publishing.

Posted on October 9, 2014 and filed under indie publishing, writing.