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English instructor challenges writers to try his ‘two-pages-a-day’ regime

‘It’s like making a New Year’s resolution,’ says Bill Bunn

For many folks, the new year is a time for turning a new page. For instructor Bill Bunn, it’s a time for writing new pages — lots of them.

Bunn, an accomplished author who teaches English at Mount Royal University, has once again thrown down the literary gauntlet with his two-pages-a-day writing challenge. He plans to write 500 words every day (sans Sundays) from January to June 2015, and hopes other writers will make their own commitments to practising their craft. Bunn has started logging his activity on Twitter. Those interested in following along can find him by the handle @Moon_canoe.

Two pages a day
Bill Bunn has been teaching at Mount Royal since 1995. He is the author of three books, and several essays and articles.
Photo by, Bryan Weismiller

“Anyone is welcome to follow along or, you know, just go ahead and do your own thing,” said Bunn.

There are well-documented variations of Bunn’s writing regime, though his process was born from personal experience. After publishing his first novel, Duck Boy, in 2012, Bunn felt as though he had “nothing left” in the creative bank.

Rather than make a herculean effort, such as writing 50,000 words for November’s famed National Novel Writing Month, he opted to take on a more manageable workload. That two-pages-a-day routine resulted in the first draft of another novel, Kill Shot, which is slated to hit shelves in April.

He wrote a third novel in 2014 operating under the same modus operandi.

Bunn compared writing to exercising in terms of sustaining activity over the long haul without burning out.
“It’s like making a New Year’s resolution to go to the gym more often,” he said. “About the third week in you’re thinking, ‘I hate this. I’m never going back.’

“So just do a light workout. Don’t stress yourself out. Make sure you want to come back the next day.”
Bunn’s dedication forces him to write at all times of the day. Sometimes it’s painstaking to put pen to paper. Other times he can hardly contain himself at 500 words.

At the end of the six months, Bunn aims to have what’s comically been described as a “crappy first draft.”
“It doesn’t have to flow but all of the major ideas need to be there,” he said.

“You can like it. You can hate it. There can be flat spots. There should be some good stuff. But it all has to be there.”

Jan. 26. 2015 — Bryan Weismiller