In the early part of last year, I vowed to write an essay each week on the writing process. I found out that no matter how I was feeling or whether I was clueless as what to write, come each Tuesday I was going to finish a piece on the writing process—and I did it. Here’s the secret: I set a deadline or, as I like to call it, a lifeline for myself. A lifeline is setting a goal and following through with it. When I meet my lifeline every Tuesday, I feel great satisfaction and accomplishment. For a writer, nothing in the world beats that feeling.
Jack London wrote a thousand words a day. That was his goal, his lifeline, his comfort zone, his rhythm. William Saroyan wrote a story a day. Me, I’m Joe Sutton, I write an essay a week on the writing process. After finishing this 52-week project, it is my intention to start writing a short story, a chapter (if I’m working on a book), or an essay, in one week. I like a weekly deadline better than a daily one—it fits my comfort zone perfectly, giving me time to digest a piece and revise it to my liking.
If you haven’t discovered your rhythm yet, it is my hope that you’ll soon find it.