It’s been a while since I wrote about writing. Probably because I’ve had something of a love/hate relationship with my passion for the past year. The older I get, the harder it becomes to simply throw myself into a story the way I did pre-kid and pre-adulting. I can no longer blindly write into the night. If I want to get anything accomplished in any of my current projects, it needs to become habit.
How to you make habits? By doing them as close to every day as possible.
It should become a matter of course, that thing you do so often that you feel strange without it. My goal this year has been to reform my old good habits with writing. Until I get to the space where if I don’t do it, I feel strange. That old need spikes beneath my skin, and before I know it I’m opening Google Docs and tapping away again.
Writing is the best therapy I’ve found that works for me. (Yoga comes in to tie at as a close second!) A year ago, I was still in the pits of despair about ever finishing anything. I couldn’t afford it, and I didn’t have the gumption to start up a Kickstarter. (Which, btw, is just as much work as publishing and marketing the usual way.) With nothing to do or prove, I suppose, I threw myself into writing instead.
Remember all those things I said earlier about how I couldn’t blindly write into the night anymore? Well, it turns out I was dead wrong.
For my day job, I stare at a screen 90% of the time. I absolutely love what I do, and the fact I get to help other people bring their books to life. But it also makes me loathe logging back in later in the evening. This isn’t always the case, thankfully. Some days are always better than others. But sometime around six months back, I realized I was never going to accomplish my goals if I didn’t figure out a different solution.
In the past, I used to put literal pen to paper to help work out these writing kinks. Something about seeing it hashed out in front of your eyes in such a tangible way is still pure magic to me. But lazy me decided instead to download the Google Docs app onto my phone. One night, I lay in bed, exhausted but feeling creative enough to open a new document and simply write.
I had an outline and notes for what I wanted to do, but I wasn’t taking it seriously, and I didn’t particularly care about proper usage of grammar, or following the usual “writing rules.” And I simply kept writing. Instead of reading late, I grew better and better at tapping those bloody tiny screen letters.
About a week ago, I got the itch to work on that manuscript again, and when I pulled up the doc, I realized how insanely long it seemed. The next day, I opened that doc on my desktop instead of my phone and my jaw unhinged a bit (it’s been screwed back in and oiled since then).
I discovered I’d already written over 90 pages on my phone.
How did this happen? Well, the answer is pretty obvious. It became rote. I made it a habit, and found along the way that writing on my phone stole away all my writing anxiety. Even better, I remembered that writing is fun and that it’s okay to “write into the dark” sometimes.