Writing under time pressure is risky. I grab whatever floats up out of a muddy mind. If I were still teaching, I would warn students not to wait until the last minute to write. But do I take my own advice? Not as often as I should. Part of my procrastination is hubris. I’ve been writing all my adult life, and I assume that I can knock out a piece whenever it’s convenient. Wrong! So, I’ve taken to heart advice from a book that I often turn to when I’m out of sorts about my writing: Ralph L. Wahlstrom’s The Tao of Writing. I’ve read this book more times than I can count, and by now I trust it to reset my attitude when I’m stymied. He says, “Take a walk, write, breathe. Write to enjoy the sensation of the pen rolling across the lines …”

In order to do what he says, I cannot trust the clock, better to trust the calendar. I write more freely when I sit down at least a day or two ahead of a deadline. And yes, I am more confident and more creative when I give myself time to think and more time to revise after hours away from the keyboard or the well-inked page. We live in a hurried world, but we don’t have to write in one. Take a deep breath, make tea, relax, knowing that there’s time to revise.

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