Hello friends and welcome to another habitual edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.
Write every day. We’ve all heard that age old refrain, haven’t we? The idea that, if we want to be successful writers, we must practice our craft every single day. And, on its face, the suggestion seems sound. Musicians probably play their instrument every day, runners likely go for at least a jog every day, right? (Caveat: I am neither a musician nor a runner so I don’t actually know.) So, why shouldn’t we writers do something similar?
Well, first of all, lets address the fact that writing advice (much like any advice on any creative endeavor) is not one size fits all. For some writers, the chronically ill or disabled for example, the poor and working multiple jobs for another, getting one uninterrupted hour of writing a week might be cause for celebration. Some others might get their best creative work done in binges, and find it difficult to get into the write (hah, see what I did there) mindset when they only have an hour. To put it simply: write every day might work for you, but it’s hardly the only way one can become a successful writer.
That all being said, I’d really like to get into the habit myself.
I am a chronic procrastinator. It’s a byproduct of my anxiety. I even procrastinate doing things I know I will enjoy (I’m still three episodes behind on Andor). In truth, I have found that in about 75% of the obligations, tasks, and activities I encounter or plan for over the course of my day I just never feel mentally prepared for. Of course, I often have to push through that feeling and when I do I realize that it wasn’t that big a deal to begin with, and yet the cycle continues with the next task.
For years I have been trying to stymie the worst of these mental block with healthy habit forming to mixed success. The reasons why are best left to therapy, but one of the biggest hurdles has been maintaining the habit long enough for it to actually become ingrained. Often times, when I’m trying a new routine, something will come up a week or two in to interrupt it (appendicitis twice in two months for example), and then after things settle down I just give up. But, more often than not, a new routine that starts off strong just… fades until I’m back to the way things were before I started.
This week in casual conversation about changes we were implementing at my day job, my boss mentioned that it takes about ninety days to form a new habit.
Reader, I was floored. For some reason, I think maybe I read something online somewhere, I thought that habit forming only took three weeks. Now I’m being told it’s actually three months?!
So much makes sense now about my failures to form new, healthy habits, and the ones that did manage to take were largely by happy accident. I haven’t been trying to keep the new routine up for nearly long enough.
And now I’m thinking about all the things I would like to turn into habits, if I can make it the three months. Obviously writing every day, sure, but blogging also. Reading. Making an effort to connect with the community (via Twitter, Instagram, etc). Suddenly my growth, not just as a creator but as a person who doesn’t want to go home and sit in her recliner and doomscroll the news or veg in front of the TV like I have been doing, seems… actually possible?
Ninety days. If I started today on these habits, by roughly Valentine’s Day I might see everything about the way I spend my free(ish) time radically transformed.
And if that’s not something to get excited about, then I don’t know what is. Here’s to trying.
Well, that’s all from me today! Until next time my friends, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.