Writing every day is more about the discipline than the physical act of putting words on paper.
It is not something which requires motivation. If you only write when motivation strikes, it will not happen on a daily basis. It is not about sitting down during your biological prime time, having the right stationary, putting up motivational post-it notes, or getting the perfect doses of caffeine and nicotine. Those things can help, but if you rely on motivation then they are irrelevant.
What matters is that a decision is made to write every day, no matter what. You do not ask 'will I write today?' or 'do I want to?' You do not consider 'do I have time today?' or 'would I rather take a nap?'
You just write. It is as simple as that. Make the choice once, then do not let it be an area of debate.
I have written on aeroplanes, even though the air pressure kept making my pen explode. I have written in tents at festivals, covered in mud and cold. I have written in a hospital despite having an IV in my hand which made every movement sting. I have written in all places, at all times, all situations.
Why do I bother? Because it helps me to create order from the chaos of my life. Writing has structure. It begins and ends, ebbs and flows. Life does not.
An important part (for me) is not to tie this to any sort of rigid schedule. I lack particular times for writing, nor do I have word count goals for non-academic work. I use a variety of software and often work on paper. My only aim is a flexible one: to write for as long as possible each day. That might be 8 hours or just 30 minutes. My happy medium is around 3-4 hours. My favourite location is at Chapman's desk, while he plays the guitar.
I disagree with the idea that producing drivel is fine, as long as you write something. Much of my daily time consists of editing and honing. Since becoming serious about my writing, I have been focusing on refinement than quantity. I could, no doubt, produce thousands of substandard words but I would rather aim for 500 high-quality ones - on a good day.
It is exhausting to live a life centred around creation, but always worthwhile. I wake up every morning and all I want to do is write. But then I remember I need to do other stuff first, like getting out of bed, making coffee, taking my pills, dressing, and showering. So I do those first. Then I realise I have a lecture to go to, a paper on the verisimilitude of post-modern Yoruba narratives to read, laundry and vocabulary to revise. I get all that done, then I sit down and write.
After a while, I run out of things to say. So I read until I have a new idea, then I write that. I repeat this cycle until I am too tired to hold a pen. I fall asleep with my head on the desk, or maybe make it into bed.
If this goes on for too long, people start scratching at my door to check I am alive. I remember it is a good idea to do stuff sometimes to ensure there is fodder for my writing. So I venture out and maybe go for a walk, to a coffee shop, to a concert. Then I carry on writing.
That is sort of my life. I don't go out drinking/clubbing/partying. I don't watch Netflix. I don't trawl Facebook and I am terrible at even remembering to answer texts or emails. Everything is structured to allow space for writing. For the last six months, I have posted an essay every three days. This is beside the writing I do for university and for myself. Writing something I am willing to publish is a huge challenge. Most of the essays I post here feel unfinished, messy, and dull. I often want to delete them out of mortification.
Somehow, I let go and start working on the next piece.
There is always another piece ahead.
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