(with apologies to Andrew Marvell)
Writing is a solitary pursuit. When groups of writers come together they always have differences of opinion — on everything from whether an MFA is worth it to what kind of pen to use to how much time you need to devote to your writing.
Every writer you meet will have a different attitude about where and how they write. Some folks still write first drafts in longhand on legal pads. I’ve even heard of a writer who likes a manual typewriter! Some have a desk in the corner of the den. Some have dedicated writing spaces with doors that can be closed. A friend of mine rents a “studio,” so she can “go to work” outside of her home. Some writers say they have to have absolute silence. No music. Some say they want music but only instrumental music.
In writing classes and workshops, I’ve heard various instructors tell aspiring writers to set aside time every day to write. Continuity is important. We’ve all read about the person who gets up an hour early every day to write, while the rest of his or her family sleeps. But finding time each day to write can be difficult if you are trying to balance your job, child care and/or elder care and generally living your life.
Even finding an extra fifteen minutes may be difficult. I find it difficult sometimes. When there’s laundry to do or dishes to wash. Or plants to water. Or I haven’t vacuumed in weeks.
I am always surprised when another writer says, “I feel healthier when I write.” If you are compelled to tell a story and passionate about crafting that story, you can get mental and physical benefit from your work.
Find your time. If it’s only fifteen minutes, go with it. Write. Because neither experience nor MFA programs will help you if you don’t.