Developing a Writer’s Life (NWPR #3)

Today, I want to talk about writers’ habits.  I’ve read a lot of advice that suggests that you need to schedule regular time, every day, to write.  This is aided if you have a specific location that is just for writing.

For me, this is not bad advice, but it is nigh impossible to follow, or at least, it has been.  I am not a person who lives by schedules.  Ask anyone I was in college with, and they’ll tell you I was often late, or missing altogether, from studies.  I stayed up entirely too late at night.  I was your quintessentially poor student.  How did this happen?  Probably a lot of it stems from some insecurities about success.  My college days were a “one-eighty” from primary and secondary school (ah yes, we’re going back a ways now).  In high school, I was top of my class and involved in tons of activities.  I wasn’t always completely on-top of my homework, but I generally got the job done, and graduated with honors.

So what happened?  Yes, I have asked myself this question quite often.  Maybe I burned out early.  I certainly rested on my laurels.  I didn’t graduate from university, and I don’t see a way back, now (although, I haven’t given up the goal of completing my degree).  Needless to say, employment opportunities are a bit sparse for a person in my position.

In more recent years, I’ve worked to develop a “more” scheduled lifestyle, at least endeavoring to sleep at appropriate times.  I try to notice when things need doing, and do them.  But my overarching problem exists.  And I’ve repeatedly come to the conclusion that this problem is — drum-roll please — I don’t finish what I start.  This quality is so ingrained, that I haven’t “finished” solving the problem (actually, I suppose this is more of what Al Watt would call “dilemma.”).  I doubt there is any cut-and-dried answer, but the writer’s advice is a solid start.

Create a schedule, and define a location to work in.  And stick to it, and do it.  I’ve been under the impression that it takes at least three weeks of concerted effort to build a new habit.  I haven’t made it this far yet.  “Real life” interrupts, and I’m not quite strong enough to fight back for my writer’s life.  But I’m working on it.

Maybe I won’t manage to write the way so many advise.  Maybe I’ll have to make up my own rules as I go along (as, I suspect, most of us have to do).  Developing a writer’s life runs parallel to developing a novel’s story.  I’m revising my own personal narration, in order to become the author I want to be.  I can no longer rest on my laurels, nor can I wallow in my defeats.  I can only move forward with this day, and strive to live a writer’s life long enough that it becomes the habit and the way.


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