Most of my non-fiction has generous deadlines. Very generous. I’ve been lucky to be able to work on pleasant schedules.

Further, the material doesn’t need to be spectacularly unique and exhilarating. It’s non-fiction. It needs to be true. Technically correct.

As a writer, I always feel the impetus to make progress. Consequently, I’m often ahead of schedule. This means the writing is kind of relaxed. Almost fun.


I wrote a lot of those books on hiatus from a day job. Writing was all I did. Of course I was relaxed and ahead of schedule.

Now, however, things are different.

I’ve got fiction I want to sell.

I’ve got chapters due for non-fiction.

And I’ve got a day job. The day job creates a kind of pervasive background level of stress. Sitting in the coffee shop on a Saturday, I was chiding myself for not having all of the examples done by now.

I had drifted into an internal chant of “so much to do, must be more productive…”

This is not really conducive to good writing.

It leads to forced, stilted, trite writing.

I need to breathe — relax — and set the day-job attitude aside. I need to recover my hiatus attitude where the horizons were further away.