Updated: Dec 10, 2020
By Cheryl Scheir
I heard an interview once with author Colson Whitehead, he of the enormous vocabulary and books like The Underground Railroad. He referred to the “rhythm” of his life as a writer—that idea really stuck with me.
Sometimes, the rhythm of my freelance writing life is to rise early, cranking out work before the others in my household rise and enter my “zone;” other times, is to rise late to sufficiently rest my eyes and mind,
Often, the tempo of my writing life modulates, slowing down as I wait for ideas and inspiration while also speeding up as I drive toward deadlines.
Without fail, the overwhelming volume of my writing life pushes me into the introvert’s cave, where I can work without alone and without audible distraction, then hibernate (with or without sleep) alone and quietly as recovery, and gradually emerge and connect with waiting family and friends—not so alone, or silent, anymore.
The writing life is an odd business, as it is an any time, all-the-time endeavor. When I’m not writing, I’m thinking about what I’ll be writing next (hence Next Page Ink, with the emphasis on the “next page”). When I’m not thinking, I’m gathering ideas by consuming all sorts sources including news stories, movies, podcasts, books, conversations, events, and experiences. The mental life of a writer is a busy one.
Then, every once in a while, I experience a grand pause, when nothing is on the horizon and nothing is demanded of me. My “schedule” that is usually all over the map becomes like that of the non-writers/artists of my imagination. They do the same things at the same times, with consistency. They plan instead of shoehorn. They view grooming and dressing as necessary preparation for the day, not just a time-consuming hassle. At least I think they do.
I’ll put it to you, then: what are the dynamics of your writing/artistic life?