“The law”

November 6th, 2006

The Girl in the Flammable Skirt: StoriesI took a workshop at Richard Hugo House in Seattle this weekend with the endlessly talented Aimee Bender, author of The Girl in the Flammable Skirt, Willful Creatures, and An Invisible Sign of My Own. Reason I mention it is not because the class was eye-opening and wonderful (it was), but because toward the end of class on Saturday the conversation invariably turned to the instructor’s own creative habits.

My friend Angela has told me on more than one occasion that she’s heard Aimee Bender say in interviews that she writes two hours a day because for her, it’s “the law” — a non-negotiable rule she’s set up for herself. This of course came up in class, and Aimee confirmed that she indeed works on her fiction two hours first thing every morning, before turning on the lights or anything, often on weekends, too, except when traveling. Before she had the law to guide her, she said, she had too much angst about whether she was writing enough. In interviews, most published novelists and short story writers will tell you they have similar hard-and-fast writing rules and schedules for themselves because really, it’s the only way to get the job done. I just like how Aimee Bender calls it “the law.” It’s so resolute.

As I come off the final page proof review of my book (turned in this a.m. — yay!) and start to think about how I’m going to juggle some of my creative writing goals with the paying work I’ve signed up for this fall, Aimee’s law serves a good reminder: When juggling artsy-fartsy endeavors with bread-and-butter work, structure and commitment is everything.

Entry Filed under: Book,Creative process,This freelance life

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Hi, my name's Michelle Goodman and I've been freelancing since 1992. I'm author of My So-Called Freelance Life and The Anti 9-to-5 Guide. Read my full bio here.

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