Clocks as Enemies

I found a tip on a writer’s blog the other day that sent the thoughts cascading. “Write every day….” So far, so good. “…Set a timer for an hour and write until the timer goes off.”

There you lost me.

Some people thrive on deadlines. You are not reading the words of a member of that tribe.

Deadlines are for craft and commerce, not for fiction. Need that hunk of advertising in a few hours? No problem. Need me to finish the book tomorrow? You wish.

For me, deadlines suck the life out of possibility. If I hadn’t played hard-to-get with the book in progress, if I had pushed for a relationship that wasn’t (and isn’t quite yet) ready to ripen, I would never have come to the promising thoughts that are propelling me now.

In writing, as in cooking, flavors need time to develop.

In writing, as with lovers, sometimes the idea plays hard to get.

Setting a deadline (and, again, we’re talking fiction, not commerce) only makes me fidget; only serves to test my patience and my self-doubt.

Write by a timer, if that’s what’s best for you. Since we get paid, for the most part, neither by the hour nor the word, I’ll fill my head and the page for as long as the story requires. Whatever time it needs to be as full and rich as it can be.

The story will tell me when it’s finished. Not the clock.

Come on, you nagging bitch of a brain. It’ll be done when it’s done.