Wednesday, August 27, 2014

August 28 2014. A discipline, a reflex, and a pleasure, the practice of writing every day makes the process into a good habit, improves your actual writing, sharpens up your mind—and does wonderful things for the morale. It enables me to snap right into the zone—full focus on demand. It also constitutes a formidable amount of sustained effort—because it is an unremitting challenge. How long can I keep going in such an intensive way? I’ll let you know.

As I sit down to write this, I am in the midst of a streak. I have written every day for the last 373 consecutive days. That consecutive day streak is part of a larger streak that began in late February 2013. Since then, I have written 516 out of the last 518 days. The last day on which I managed no writing was July 21, 2013 (the day I traveled home from the Launch Pad Astronomy Workshop in Laramie, Wyoming, in case you’re wondering).

Jamie Todd Rubin

I find it hard to over-stress the value of writing every day in terms of improving your writing and generally keep your brain sharp. Whether it is socially acceptable is another matter. For instance, should you write while on vacation? After all, the whole idea of a vacation is to have a break from your normal work. That way, you regain perspective and return to work much refreshed.

Vacations are a fine and necessary thing—and I believe absolutely in the European habit of taking about five weeks off a year (not that I practice it, unfortunately). However, where I am concerned, I have become a complete convert to the notion of writing every day regardless—providing your partner, or whoever you are with, doesn’t threaten to shoot you (which they probably will).

It’s my experience that people—even loved ones—can become quite jealous of writing time. It suggests that you prefer writing time to time spent with them.

Well, no matter how much you love them, you probably do—though ‘prefer’ is not something you should admit to. It’s more tactful to say that you simply need a couple of hours of uninterrupted writing time every day—and with luck, and if you are a good diplomat—you may just get away with it.

When I say ‘every day’ I don’t mean five days a week with the weekend off. I mean seven days a week, week-in, week-out, month-in, month-out, year-in, year-out. No excuses.

I have now reached the stage where I don’t feel right until I have written something. In fact, I normally start writing before I have the first mug of tea of the day—and that tea may wait for a couple of hours. It may wait a great deal longer.

Here is the weird thing: Where exercise, for instance, is concerned, some days I just don’t feel like it. I may exercise anyway, but it will take a real mental effort.

Where writing is concerned, I always feel like it—regardless of how I feel otherwise.

Downright creepy (in a nice sort of way)!



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