I exchanged some friendly conversation with the guy running the register at my grocery store and asked him if he was looking forward to the weekend. He stuck the asparagus into my bag and paused to tell me, “People think I’m weird, but I don’t take weekends.”
He explained, while I was running my card through the machine to pay, he found his productivity used to go way down on weekends. He said he’d waste the first day, and end up feeling rushed during the next one. On Monday, he’d be back to work, feeling like Saturday and Sunday were lost days. I didn’t have time to ask him if he had a partner or children or parents living nearby which would make a daily work schedule like that infinitely harder. But I had to admire the way he had designed his life around his desire to create and a schedule that never let him down.
Writer Jonathan Evison, author of “The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving,” used to write with a firm schedule, although he didn’t specifically refer to weekends. I watched a YouTube interview with Evison saying , “I was always doing a full-time job to support the writing, but even then, I would get up at 4:30 am, you know you don’t screw around at 4:30 in the morning. I would give my best, you don’t get distracted, and instead of being exhausted, I’d write until 10 when I had to go to a job, and I’d be energized.”
“But now with the kids, they wake up at the sound of the keys tapping, so I have to come out to the cabin and write for 2 or 3 days. Its 24/7 thinking about it, even when I’m not writing. I text myself 20 times a day. You just have to find an equilibrium you can manage.” This is a great interview and you can see it here.
I love to sleep in on the weekends. Sleep is good for you, I tell myself. I also always fall behind schedule and by noon usually wish I had gotten up early to write. One of the most productive people I know gets up at the same time on weekends as during the week and enjoys hours of quiet time before the rest of the house begins to stir. Still, like Evison, when I try this, the phenonomen of children getting up when I do often happens. Its a double whammy- you’ve lost your writing time and your kid will be cranky that day too.
Well, I’m not getting out of weekends, or difficult busy weeks so I have to develop some flexibility about how I keep up my writing schedule. The danger of losing a weekend or a week or a month! from writing is that the connection to your story slips away. Some kind of fear and fog and inertia roll in. Clearly finding an equilibrium of some sort can’t wait.
I think on a seriously busy weekend when I don’t have time to write, I might still have time to read what I’ve written. I could have a daily read of my pages. I could read my one-sheet I’ve printed up with a summary of my book every morning before I reflexively hop onto Facebook. How could I tell myself that I’m too tired for that? (I can feel the resistance already, but I’m going to get the upper hand.) I know that after a few pages of reading, I’ll be itching to just change a word or two, and then I’ll be sucked in and living and breathing my work instead of that resistance. Weekends or not, I really can’t wait to get to that happy place where I text myself about my writing 20 times a day.