Apr. 12th, 2013

vanessamac: (Quill)
And sometimes that's an okay thing. Like brushing your teeth, or changing your car oil on a regular schedule, or watering that unidentified potted plant that seems to suck the water down like a camel at an oasis stop.

Not all habit forming activities are bad. And writing daily is one of the good ones.

I think it is possibly the single most important tenet to live by for a writer:

Write Daily

The pros all tell you to do it. The amateurs tell you to do it. The agents tell you to do it. And once you start doing it, your own writing pixie tells you it's exactly what you need.

It's not an easy habit to start if you've a busy life. I've a full time job and a set of demanding hobbies. With the energy of that desert crossing camel a day before his oasis, I would come home from work, click on the laptop and stare, eyes blurry, at the last thing I'd written. About twenty minutes of skimming the zone, I'd finally realize what planet I was on and take off from my last line.

Not so efficient for me.

There's a trick to forming this habit

Fish in the Right Pond

When I was but a wee lass, I used to fish. Some lakes had bass. Some lakes had perch. Some lakes had bluegill. Some had all three, others had none. It's important to find your pond.

What do I mean?

Not every hour is your hour. For me, writing after a full day at the office was as fruitful as milking a chicken. My brain was already on Swiss cheese mode and all I really wanted to do was go for a run, surf the net and eat dinner.

So, I began to experiment with what time my brain felt the most creative and the most fresh. I've friends that write at 2 in the morning and go on these stampedes until noon the next day and then crash until 2 am and start it all over. I can't do that (remember, day job), but I wondered how the quiet hours of night/morning would work for me.

I set my alarm for 5 a.m.

That first week it pretty much sucked. Not the writing, but the waking up. I was a get-up-30-minutes-before-commute kinda woman. Then it got easier, and at times, the words just flowed. Now, I get up at 5, make tea, start up the writing beast and sit down to an hour of writing every workday morning.

I never considered myself a morning person, but my creative pixie just loves it. Sadist.

Either the Light of Day, or the Dark of Night

So, don't excuse yourself with "I've no time to write every day." If you want to improve yourself, you've got to. If you want to finish that novel, you've got to. The trick is to carve out that slice of time where you are your most efficient. Maybe you're a 5 a.m. person, or a 2 a.m. person, or someone who can slap together some great prose during your lunch break. Experiment. Find your pixie time and dance with her in the hours that you can.

June 2013

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