In school visits, I tell students my ‘conditions for writing’ are silence and solitude.
Now, after nearly two weeks of mayhem in the aftermath of New Brunswick’s (latest) ice storm, with a live power line lying across the driveway, and losing power, and visits from heroic linesmen and our own equally heroic electrician, and shovelling snow and ice, and making sure the birdfeeders are topped up, all this on top of the usual confusion and excitement of the holiday, I realise I should add a third condition.
Lately, it’s gone the way of cassette tapes and pogo sticks and hula hoops.
And writing went with it.
The idea of ‘routine’ is antithetical to the romantic image of the writer scribbling novels wherever and whenever inspiration strikes, in cafes, on buses, walking in the mountains, in between torrid affairs, and fighting duels, and fomenting revolutions.
But it’s not like that. Not for a no-name like me, anyway.
I need boring routine.
I need to be up early and to write for a couple of hours before breakfast, and then to get back at it as the day allows, and to end the day with a few notes that will lead in to what comes next, and to repeat that day after day until a draft is done. If I don’t, I find that for every day I miss, I need two days to get back into any kind of rhythm of writing.
Right now, I’m as word bound as we are ice bound.