You know what the difference is between a person who is a writer and a person who isn’t one?
A writer writes.
Obvious, I know. But the truth is, sometimes I tell people I’m a writer--or I just tell myself that I’m a writer--when I haven’t written anything for days. Weeks, even.
I’m busy, of course. I have school. I have a husband. I have chores to do and dinners to make and errands to run. I have a life. But so does everyone. Writers are not hermits. (Usually.) They have hectic lives, too--perhaps much more hectic than mine--yet still they write.
Over the past few years, I’ve heard the advice countless times: Write daily. It’s good advice, of course, but it’s frustrating. I don’t always feel like writing, dangit.
But I’ve tried. I’ve tried to make writing so much of a habit that it doesn’t feel like pulling teeth just to get myself to sit down with a computer or a notebook and pen. I’ve tried committing to a certain number of hours per week. I’ve tried committing to a certain amount of time per day. I’ve tried scheduling a time. Writing in a certain space. Writing on certain days of the week. Waking up earlier to write in the morning. Writing during boring classes.
But every time, it still feels like pulling teeth.
Don’t get me wrong--once I get going, I really enjoy myself. But some days, I never get going. I keep starting ideas and then idly letting them die to start a new one, and nothing ever gets done. Sometimes all I do is sit and stare at the computer screen, occasionally writing a sentence and then deleting it a moment later.
I still haven’t hit on what exactly works for me to establish a writing habit. But I think I’m finally coming to terms with the fact that, for me at least, there is no exact formula. I’m not going to wake up one day and realize that writing daily is a cinch. It’s going to take a lot of figurative teeth-pulling, a lot of hair torn out in frustration, and a bit of madness.
The question is not whether writing is easy for me. The question is not whether I can somehow overcome the madness.
The question is whether I can take the madness and frustration and still write.
I guess there’s no way to know whether I can, but I’m sure going to try.