Writing Zazen

Are you a writer?

Do you believe that hard work is the single most important ingredient to the success of a writer?

Is it hard for you to actually sit down and write regularly?

Then read on. I have a similar problem and we two may have a solution for each other.

I’m writing my first novel and sometimes I can’t force myself to write even though I have time. On the other hand, I can work more or less productively for 40+ hours per week in my day job. Like writing, it’s an intellectually challenging job (programming). Unlike writing, I can work productively almost every day, including days when I’m not motivated (sad, depressed, etc.).

I thought “What’s the difference between writing and programming?” Part of the answer is this: peer pressure. At work I am surrounded by people who work, hence it is harder for me to be lazy. When you are surrounded by working people, the herd instinct forces you to work as well.

What if we could use the same instinct for building our writing careers?

It would work like this:

  1. We agree on a certain date and time.
  2. At the specified time, both of us go online and say “hello” to each other in an instant message.
  3. Then we work for 1-3 hours.

Why may it work better than doing it on your own?

Because the cost of not sticking to your promise is higher. Imagine you tell yourself that you will work for 2 hours on your writing tomorrow. The next day, for some reason, you don’t want to write. If you give in and don’t write, you only break promise to yourself. You aren’t letting down any other people.

Now imagine that you promised another person you will be writing at a certain point in time. If you don’t show up this time, you let down not only yourself, but also the other person because he or she needs your social pressure as well.

Does this idea sound good to you?

Then look at the image below. During the last week I’ve been writing from Monday through Friday, from 04:00 through 08:00, Central European Time. Depending on where you live, you may want to write at the same time as I do.


If you want to give this idea a try, please write me an e-mail with a text like this:

Dear Franz,

I want to do a writing Zazen with you on YYYY-MM-DD at HH:MM TZ.

Best regards


  • YYYY-MM-DD is the day,
  • HH:MM is the time, and
  • TZ is the time zone.

I will most likely reply within 24 hours.

Terms and conditions

  1. I’m looking for people who believe that hard work leads to better literature and want to practice this belief as often as possible. That’s the most important thing.
  2. Work is obligatory, socializing (chatting, talking) is optional. We may talk, if both of us want to and if time remains. Note that I go to my day job after those morning sessions, therefore I won’t be able to talk with you for a long time.
  3. I don’t care what exactly you write (fiction or non-fiction, subject, genre etc.).
  4. I don’t care about your personal background like age, race, gender, political orientation, religion etc.
  5. It is free (actually not — you and I spend our time).
  6. I won’t share you e-mail with anyone.