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Sustainable Writing

I’m sick but happy this week because 1) I have a heavy cold and can’t/won’t run around the city and 2) I’m not teaching and don’t have to read any manuscripts and don’t have to get on the subway where I probably picked up this cold and/or where my husband picked up this cold which we are sharing. Thank you.

I hope that my students don’t take this blog post personally and forgive me for being happy without them or their manuscripts this week even though I am being punished for my happiness with a bad cold. I am sure they will understand what it means to have time to write because we talk about their frustrations all the time. They go something like this: I have a full-time job and can’t find time to write. I have two young kids and can’t find time to write. I have two young kids and a full-time job and can’t find time to write. I have to travel to Chicago next week and I have two young kids and I am too tired to write. I have to travel to China next week and I am too tired to write. And so on.

What happens, then, when we do have time to write? We write without knowing what day or hour it is and we stop only when we are hungry or have a doctor’s appointment or some other necessary obligation. We don’t care about the weather. Rain or shine or wind, we are writing. Is it still winter? Is it spring? We may or may not feel hunger and eat breakfast at lunch and lunch at dinner. We may or may not answer the phone and not understand who is calling or why they have called. We are utterly and completely immersed in our work, and sustained by it. We write more than 1,000 usable words a day. We surface and it is already Tuesday of our sustainable writing week and we have hit 22,000 words of our revision. And there are still two days left of this bliss—until Thursday—when manuscripts must be read and emails sent out to my wonderful students.
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