I have harped upon the importance of daily writing ad nauseam.
While I do not think I was wrong about the worth of daily writing in building up the writing muscles, I think I would now like to modify my approach a bit.
I’m not sure about others, but for me, writing is not a repeat of the same experience everyday.
Some days, I’m on fire, my pen cannot keep up with my thoughts, and eating, sleeping, cooking, living seem like unnecessary annoyances. The only thing that matters is writing. I live for those days, I think sometimes.
On other days, I can write a bit, maybe a few minutes, an hour. After which, I can’t really concentrate. But I’m happy enough, at least I got something done.
And then there are the days I hate, when nothing I can do would wring a word out of me, and the words that do come out are dead, they cannot dance to my tune.
I have realized that this is normal for me, and that if I decide to whip myself into production everyday, then all of my days become dry, my writing limp, devoid of meaning and vitality.
No point, I’ve decided.
It is ok to let go of entire days, even a week without writing if I have nothing to say, or if I’m making up my mind about something. Those are the times to read, edit, and go about life. To jot down a line or two if something strikes me. To gather myself to write, to be able to write like an animal.
And I would write perhaps five minutes, or ten in those days, not more. If that.
Yes, I will make an effort to mark my presence on the page every day, but I will not be angry with myself for not writing a word. Writing need not be a frightening, demanding chore. I refuse to take the pleasure out of it.
And I’ve noticed I’m still getting writing done. I do write something everyday, a blog, an email, an article, so not as if I’m totally away from writing anything at all. And the fiction pages are adding up, all without forcing myself.
I think I can live with occasional bursts of creativity, and then a few days of relatively less output, without berating myself about it. I’m making my writing a safe experience, a meditation and a constant source of joy, without letting too much negativity creep in.
I can only get better with this, a better writer, a better person, and who knows, one day even the author of a book or two.
Shoeacres, I have myself gotten lost in a mire of work and travel, and have lost my routine. Getting back to it though. Wrote about 2000 words today, am happy.
Hope your mum feels better soon.
I'm having a very interesting experience just now. Demands associated with caring for my elderly mother – trips to the doctor and emergency room, setting up some assistance for home, having to make more and more regular visits to her – are taking a toll on my writing time, and it's amazing to me how cranky I'm getting because of it!
I had gotten into that routine you speak of without realizing how much I depended on it. Having the routine suddenly broken and feeling so unfocused because of it is a real testament to the wisdom of what you are saying here!
So thank you for this post. Now, I will try and take the weekend to get the routine re-established!
Sure, Sharon, am in Tokyo, so this will take a while, but I'll do it.
could i trouble you do take part in a v essential meme to save yvonne foong's sight :
i love that shirt!