I work on my unwieldy novel most days for so little time. It’s the Swiss cheese method of writing. You just poke a tiny hole in the task. You punch a moment into that insurmountable infinity.
I read this method in Alan Lakein’s book, “How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life” a long time ago when I was Barbara Weaver’s assistant in the Women’s Division. Sometimes I wish I was somebody’s assistant again. More often, I wish that I had an assistant!
“The underlying assumption of the Swiss cheese approach is that it is indeed possible to get something started in five minutes or less. And once you’ve started, you’ve given yourself the opportunity to keep going…Swiss cheese is supposed to lead to involvement,” Lakein says. I’m not so sure.
I start my Stopwatch app. And I glance at the numbers. Occasionally, I will go past 10 minutes, but usually, I watch the time flip over to 10:00 and then I go, “Phew.” I put the novel away. The Swiss cheese method has not led me into the zone. I do love to enter the flow of writing — when time passes without being noticed. When writing is bliss. I like that. But it’s okay when it’s Swiss cheese too. It’s something. It’s edible.