One, Then the Next

Sunday Letter | #346

It’s deadline month, hence the erratic Sunday notes. I’ve been trying to be consistent again with all the things I do before I start writing—exercise, shower, meditate, have tea and a light breakfast, disable the internet, journal for a few minutes—so that I’m warmed up, physically and mentally, by the time I look at the manuscript. It’s also helped that the weather’s been clear and cool enough most days to sit and write outside.

Some days, I try squeeze out an extra afternoon session after lunch. Usually this involves lighter work—transcribing morning edits I’ve made by hand on pages I’ve printed to reread. This is also useful work for days I feel not at my sharpest, and relieves that hard-to-shake guilt of not moving things along.

If there’s a thought I try to keep in the back of my mind, it’s this: one sentence, then the next. Forget all the writing technique you’ve learned. Forget all the thoughts about plot and character arcs you might’ve had while doing the dishes. All that will come—maybe has to come—organically, if only you follow the sentences.

I saw an internet thing (5th slide) the other day that said, “Adulthood is saying ‘but after this week things will slow down a bit’ over and over until you die.”

Oh yes. I know that feeling. But I also know the feeling of a full but rich week, of being there, in total presence, with each of the many things I had to do, as I was doing it.

Or if not a whole week, then at least a day or two.

Remember: one sentence, then the next.