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I’ve been really struggling with creating the habit of writing. I do actually spend 20 minutes to a half hour every morning – first thing! – doing my morning pages, so it’s not that. It’s the practice of sitting down at my computer and actually writing that I’m having trouble with.
What happens is that I have a great idea, usually when I’m in the car. When I get to work, I’ll maybe take some notes and promise myself that I will absolutely sit down and spend some more time with it later. Sometimes later never comes, because it’s busy with training and work and then parenting and soccer practice and then meetings and oh wait, I forgot that there’s some important task to finish or I need to see my friends and aw crap, I forgot to get some ingredient at the grocery store so I have to go now. On those days, I tell myself, okay, I’ll write tomorrow. And I console myself with the fact that it’s the first week or so of school, it’s busy, I’ll get back to it once things settle down.
But then, when I have actually managed to carve out some time here and there to write, where I sit down at my computer with the best of intentions that I’m going to set my timer and just write – about anything, Karen! Anne Lamott says so! – I end up staring at a blank post or word document, then clicking onto another web browser and going onto Facebook. Or checking my email. Or checking my phone to see if a friend has messaged me. Or calling my sister. Or finding some obscure psychology article to read.
Until all the time I had planned fades away, and it’s business as usual; dinner, shower, bedtime, my own bedtime, spending time with my husband, etc etc etc etc.
This is a a problem.
It’s a problem because I actually need to spend time writing more, not less. I need to get all the gunked up crap from years of not writing out of me, and the only way to do it is to write a lot more than I do now. It’s so hard, though. I’m simultaneously trying to be okay with writing crap, partly because I know perfectionism if my enemy right now.
But also? Finding the words to get to the heart of a story is really fucking hard.
And I think that’s why I keep getting distracted and finding other things to do instead of sitting and focusing on writing. It’s why, before I actually began this post, I started to write myself a grocery list for tomorrow. It’s why, in the MIDDLE of writing this post, I started copying down a quote of Anne Lamott’s which I want to tape to my wall.
Writing when it’s hard is part of the process. It’s hard though.
Especially when it’s hard.