I might as well start with my biggest secret: most of writing is NOT writing. Most of writing is about intention and focus—inward at first to reach the depth of your material and then outward to think about your reader. In my first editorial job we were allowed to take reading days at home, usually one day a week, to catch up with submissions or to write catalog copy. I loved reading days. They felt like weekend days but with work. The first thing I’d do? Laundry. Then grocery shopping. Then a walk. A swim. Lunch. Nap. Dinner. Then, after dinner I’d sit down and do the day’s work in a few hours. All that laundry and swimming and walking had gotten me to the right tone of what I needed to do. After that the content would just flow.

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Castel del Piano, Tuscany

I loved reading days. I always had good work to show for it . . . and lots of clean laundry.