I don’t have a writing day or writing routine. No office no desk no ritual no retreat no system. I’ve had time to write this because I was rained out at work.
I don’t have a writing day. I have fits and starts, 10 minutes between conferences, some time in my car before the rest of my landscaping crew shows up, late nights with a very bad movie muted and mashed up with good music, sometimes early mornings when dream still fogs everything and no one else is awake.
I compose in small notebooks and on notecards. Both push me to condense. If I’m working on a chapbook or book project, the notecards allow me to ignore ideas about order and sequence as I shuffle them each time before I re-read them.
Usually I have a stack of books on my bedstand and another on our dining room table, with a third stack in the kitchen that has to go back to the public or university library. Reading always informs my writing whether that’s the plan or not. I like all genres but prefer texts broken up, so I can read a passage in between this or that. Sometimes while camping, I can sit and read an entire book cover to cover.
I don’t have a writing day because of kids and jobs and everything else but that’s perfect because when faced with the odd open block of hours, I can’t just sit down and turn on the poetry tap anyway. Rather than a writing day, I usually write a little everyday. It works.
Michael Sikkema is the author of 4 full length collections of poetry, around a dozen chapbooks or collaborative chapbooks, and can be found most often in West Michigan, migrating northernly in the summer.