“If there is anybody out there who feels crazy enough to want to become a writer, I say go ahead, spit in the eye of the sun.” –Charles Bukowski, “My Madness”
Greetings from Budapest, my lovely Pyragraphers.
It’s especially difficult to stay on task and meet deadlines on the road. That’s why I want to share some of the writing mantras I’ve learned to keep me busy, organized, inspired and sexy (well, a slightly more attractive Vince Gilligan, I’m told).
I hope this first mantra finds you well and aids you in becoming the superior writer I know you are. Or at least a more productive one.
Mantra #1: Breathe it in, but don’t drown.
Write every day, even if it’s just a few minutes.
Writing daily teaches you to be consistently creative. Your writing will also improve much faster. Don’t believe me? Try practicing violin once or twice a week and see how long it takes to join the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Some writers argue against daily practice; however they are usually referring to working on the same project every day. I do not advise that if it can be avoided—this will make you crazy. Research, outlining, editing, organizing notes and restructuring dramatic beats all count. The point is to do something creative and writing-related every frickin’ day. Even if your fingers are broken, you can at least think about it; the writer’s international pastime.
If you are not writing often, you are likely binge writing.
This implies that you rarely write, and when you do it’s for several hours at a time. There are problems with this: You will improve more slowly, as mentioned. Long hours also mean you will be writing with mental fatigue (a dull tool). Remember that college buddy who pulled all-nighters writing and then asked you to proofread them? My brain still hurts thinking about them.
When you write infrequently it only adds pressure to create something good. No writer needs more anguish and self-judgment while writing. It is absolutely imperative to create and maintain a healthy creative routine (Google Calendar!). It’s the only way to do it, and like any relationship, keeping a line of communication open is hard work. If you are serious about it, just do it, or to paraphrase an ex-girlfriend, .
Don’t let the fact that you’re writing very little stop you from being a doer and badass.
Stop feeling sorry for yourself! There’s still hope for you; start mañana. Suzanne Richardson puts it succinctly: “Get off your ass and write.”
There is truly no excuse not to take a daily dip—just don’t binge, tire and drown.
Photo by Eric Nelson.