Thursday, May 9, 2013

Forming a daily writing habit

The days plod onward. I have been successful in continuing to write a little bit every day. I still have the critical voice in my head telling me is isn't enough. It isn't good enough, it isn't cohesive enough, it's not fast enough, etc. That inner critic of mine will say whatever she can though to stay in charge.

I was hoping to mark a goal in days when I could say that I've made a habit out of it. I've heard informally that it can take a few weeks to establish a habit. In hopes to find a reference for that, I just did a quick Google search. In this article, the author decides that there's no telling how long a habit can take, which seems a bit disheartening. However, after riding the rollercoaster that is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for a few years, it is obvious that even a month worth of break-neck paced writing may not be enough to keep me focused on the daily habit of putting pen to page, or fingers to the keyboard.

Perhaps daily writing is more like breaking in a pair of new hiking boots. The leather creaks and groans as it gets used to itself and its new mission. It is tight around the ankle, firm in its support but not quite ready to give where it needs to. Wear them every day, whether it's to work or the store, and little after little, they should adjust to my feet and then move like bliss, supporting me on trails and keeping me dry as I stomp through streams.

It will probably take a few days or weeks of really feeling out my story and a daily writing habit, before I land on a trace of what my days will be like in the end. No writing reference book will help me find my way, no matter how tempting it is to follow someone else's guidebook. I have to attend to my writing habit as I would attend to my feet after a few days or weeks in these new boots. Only the sores or lack of sores will let me know whether this strategy is a good fit. Work at it every day, whether it's a weekday or a weekend, and little after little, I should have a mess of prose which can hopefully be shaped and revised into a book. Maybe it will be marketable, or maybe I'll print it out and bind it and leave it on my shelf, proof that all I need to do is just put in consistent effort to break in my life for daily writing.

In other news, I finally got behind my sewing machine last night and cut out the fabric and batting to make coasters for my grandmother-in-law. She's been asking for some all-season coasters for at least two years. They are now stuffed and pinned and ready for the final sewing step. I should be able to finish these by Sunday morning, in time for Mother's Day. I'm also hoping to find the picture of the table runner I designed (which the coasters will match). If there's time, I hope to sew that as well (all the pieces are cut and staged).

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