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Creativity coach, writing and creative process instructor, speaker, author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Write the Way You Want (Penguin/Tarcher 2012) and Dancing in the Dragon's Den (Red Wheel Weiser), Teaching Artist at the Loft Literary Center.

Must. Show. Up. Must. Write. Something.

Yesterday I had food poisoning or 24-hour stomach flu and I didn’t even think about writing. I feel no guilt about that – the rule of thumb is that if you’d call in sick or take time off from a job where they pay you to show up, you skip Product Time for the day. The key is returning.

Today, I’m recovering. I’m still achy and tired, but I’m on the mend, so I know it’s important for me to show up and do something with my Product Time. So far, I tried reading Writer’s Digest, discovered I just can’t focus and I don’t think it’s the fault of the articles. I thought about reading fiction as a writer, but the thought of that level of concentration exhausts me. So I’m doing a combo of freewriting and working on this draft for my blog. I’m not certain yet what level of sharing yesterday’s and today’s struggles will be inspiring to other writers and what would cross into TMI. (I think I edited all the TMI bits out.)

Today’s Product Time won’t be my best. I don’t think I’m going to have great new ideas today. If there is something to be gleaned from yesterday’s misery, it may occur to me tomorrow or the next day. Today, I’m repeating and reiterating an old message (to myself and to you) that the important thing is not what clever things we come up with during our Product Time, the important thing is that we show up.

Over time, as we consistently and repeatedly show up for Product Time, we will be excited about the cool new ideas our unconscious gives us or the intriguing research we’re exploring. Over time, we will write material that engages us and our readers.

But on any given day, there is no guarantee that that is what today’s Product Time will be. Some days, the Product Time is glorious. Some days, it’s just putting in your time, proving to your unconscious that you are willing and trustworthy, and keeping your habit strong.

For me today, Product Time is about coming back, putting in my 15 minutes and trusting that tomorrow’s 15 minutes will be easier and more productive.

Just. Show. Up.

Just. Write. (Or read, research, brainstorm, freewrite, doodle, or do anything else that counts for Product Time.) Something. Today.

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2 Comments on “Must. Show. Up. Must. Write. Something.”

  1. Rachel V. December 13, 2011 at 6:48 pm #

    Hi Rosanne,

    Thanks for this post! I actually called in sick to work today, and I can appreciate the idea of returning to my product time tomorrow.

    Hope you are feeling better!


    • rosannebane December 14, 2011 at 7:54 pm #

      Hi Rachel,
      You’re welcome. It’s good to know that even my meanderings can serve. I am feeling better and hope you are too!


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