How to Write a Lot, by Paul J Silvia
A writing schedule brings balance to your life—not balance in the pseudoscientific, New Age, self-help sense of wondrous fulfillment, but balance in the sense of separating work and play. Binge writers foolishly search for big chunks of time, and they “find” this time during the evenings and weekends. Bing writing thus consumes time that should be spent on normal living. Is academic writing more important than spending time with your family and friends, petting the dog, and drinking coffee? A dog unpetted is a sad dog; a cup of coffee forsaken is caffeine lost forever. Protect your real-world time just as you protect your scheduled writing time. Spend your evenings and weekends hanging out with your family and friends, building canoes, bidding on vintage Alvar Aalto furniture that you don’t need, watching Law & Order reruns, repainting the shutters, or teaching your cat to use the toilet. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you don’t spend your free time writing—there’s time during the work week for that.
This might be my new manifesto. According to Silvia, the key is committing to three things: 1) writing on a regular schedule, 2) setting and meeting writing goals, and 3) regularly meeting with friends to encourage each other. In exchange for doing good writing, good work, consistently, one won’t feel pressure when not producing to be doing more, and one gets to pet the dog and build a canoe.