The only way to be a writer is to, well, write. And the best way to get better at it, to produce anything of substance (anything at all), is to write regularly. Everyone knows this, I teach this, and yet how hard it is to follow that advice!
Routine helps. It helps me, anyway, in anything I do. Having a schedule allows me to focus my energies on specific tasks at specific times and to avoid getting lost in all the responsibilities of life. It also reassures me that, yes, there IS enough time for everything, so long as I’ve planned and budgeted my time well. It’s what helped me on my journey to fitness, and I know it can help me here, too.
The problem is prioritizing. As I get caught up in necessary responsibilities, the ones that pay the bills, for example, I let other ones fall by the wayside. Do I really want to wake up at 5am just to write for myself? I could be sleeping another two hours! And, if I do think it’s worth it, is it also worth it to go to bed earlier, so I’m not a complete zombie every day? Do I miss out on really amazing television (haha?) just to send myself to bed by 11pm?
The truth is in the word, priority. I have not been prioritizing or valuing my own work because I do not see the immediate, mostly monetary, gains from it that I see from my salaried profession. But guess what? As much as I love my profession (I adore it), I know that I’m not only that person. And the writing life, the writer part of me, needs attention, too. It fulfills me. It makes me a better person and, I think, a better writing professor, too.
So, yes, I am going to bed earlier and getting up earlier. I started a project yesterday that I’m calling “100 Days of Journaling.” The goal is simply to write something, anything, for 100 days in a row. I’ll be doing this in my physical journals, but I plan to post a reflective blog every 10 days. I’ll share how things are going, what major themes are coming up in my writing, any prompts or resources I consulted, etc.