Jane Kenyon writes:
“Be a good steward of your gifts. Protect your time. Feed your inner life. Avoid too much noise. Read good books, have good sentences in your ears. Be by yourself as often as you can. Walk. Take the phone off the hook. Work regular hours.” And, “Tell the whole truth. Don’t be lazy, don’t be afraid. Close the critic out when you are drafting something new. Take chances in the interest of clarity of emotion.”
I wrote that quote down in one of my notebooks as the guiding light of last year’s resolution. I took my reading list seriously with the “good sentences” injunction even if I didn’t care for the story I was reading. I still keep that in mind. And I’m still reading.
But I can’t leave the quote like that. It could be misleading. Sure, it’s important to read, (and if you want advice on finding time to read, the Happier podcast recently released an episode on the subject).
For the rest? Some writers can’t often be alone, others take bike rides instead of walks, others don’t work regular hours. So while this quote might please and inspire some, it could be discouraging for others. In the latter case, don’t worry… Know yourself and what works for you. Tag along with Gretchen Rubin for a while if you like. Or remember what Sheryl Strayed said in her interview with Marie Forleo: “I’m a binge-writer, I’m not an everyday writer.” (It’s around 9 minutes in when they discuss routines vs “keeping the faith” over here.)