Rhythm in writing is a many splendored thing: There’s the rhythm we find in the pattern of words that can be lyrical and ear-pleasing or jarring and agitating. But there’s also another kind of rhythm in writing: the rhythm of the regimen we embrace in order to get our thoughts out of our heads and onto the page. While this is often called “writing process,” I like “writing rhythm” better, because it seems more in tune with what we’re trying to accomplish.
For quite a while, I had a steady daily rhythm going: I was working on my YA novel revision for about three hours and then committing another hour or sometimes more, to working on something new. And the rest of the time, I was letting ideas percolate and roll around in my head. This set up seemed to work well for me on several fronts:
It gave me just enough structure to feel anchored: Having a core commitment of time to build my writing around was calming and reassuring. Whatever the plot issue or scene I was working on, I knew each day that I had a nice chunk of time to noodle it around in. Paradoxically, this was relaxing and also freed me to focus intensely.
It helped me find a smooth groove: I was making reasonably steady progress every day, which felt satisfying. I knew I could count on my daily regimen to push me forward: I’d come up with a workable strategy to support my writing goals.
It sparked exciting moments of creativity: Having a strategy I could sustain from day to day strengthened my resolve to keep going, even when I hit rough patches. And fighting through these tough moments often resulted in new ideas and insights into
my characters: the universe was rewarding me for staying on track.
All this is in the past tense because I recently lost my groove — and now I’m committed to getting it back. How about you? Do you have a rhythmic approach to your writing? If so, has it helped you move toward your goals? I’d love to know — as we all write on.