One of the first steps in becoming a Writer, if I am ever to rise to the occasion of calling myself that, is to establish a regular practice of writing. And, to effectively establish that habit (and make it stick) I need to Honor My Reality.
What honoring my reality means to me is accepting that I exist, here and now in my life with all its messy limitations and previous obligations. I need to accept them and not let them get in the way of writing regularly. If becoming a Writer is important to me – and it is – I need to make writing regularly as essential a part of my day as going to work or eating.
I have to admit; the notion of Honoring My Reality is something of a mystery to me. First of all, I wrongly pictured someone who is truly a writer as a pristine word-producing-machine, unencumbered with the time consuming tasks and emotions, and interruptions of life. In order to magically morph into this persona, my tendency has been to view things that weren’t writing, or actions done in the service of writing, as obstructions, or stumbling blocks, things to be avoided, or taken care of. Once these things were out of the way, only then could I “reward myself” with the luxury of becoming a writer. In other words, my regular life, where normal everyday things happen, and don’t happen, and break, and disappear, beaten into submission neatly alongside my writing life where nothing but writing happens. Haha! OK, put into words, I see how foolish that is.
I have been approaching the task of creating a writing habit more like a prize-fighter – jabbing at, and ducking from life as it comes at me, rather than (apparently the right way) like a yogi, setting intentions and going with the flow. Life and writing do not exist separately from each other but intertwine and intersect.
In realizing this truth, I have come up with seven things I need to keep in mind in my journey towards a regular writing habit:
- List, allow, and love the things that can and will get in the way of writing, then organize accordingly.
- Know what works for me. Morning vs night. Word count vs time limit. Pen & paper vs Word.doc
- When writing, eliminate or avoid distractions – focus
- Adapt, accept, and schedule – “either you run the day, or the day runs you”
- Take breaks
- Keep track of wins
- Ask for help – others need to be needed and feel like a part of my success
I need to quit looking for shortcuts, or kickstarts. I need to get down to the serious, albeit messy work of becoming a serious writer.