Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Making Writing a Habit

Sometimes the hardest part of writing is getting in the habit of it. I used to start at least five -- often six, and sometimes even seven -- days a week off by sitting down in front of the computer, opening Word, and writing. I didn't think about it, didn't make plans for it, I just did it. I took breaks during the day to be a mom and a wife, but when I managed to gather a little free time, right back to the computer I went.

It stayed that way for a long while, until I found out my mother had cancer. During the months of caring for her, writing was the last thing on my mind. After her death, writing still stayed out of reach. It took me more than a year to find my way back. By then I was our of the habit, and it was a battle every time I sat down in front of the computer and tried. It took months to get back into the flow -- into the habit.

Working as a full-time freelance for years after that should have made the habit of writing one that I couldn't break. But instead, it seems to have made it more breakable. When I stopped freelance writing, suddenly there was no weekly deadline, no editor watching and waiting for my words. And somehow writing non-fiction just didn't feel the same as fiction.

Getting back into the daily writing, the fiction writing, has been a war, and I've lost a lot of battles along the way for many reasons. It seems like just as soon as I'm doing well, something else happens to throw me off. And since the habit isn't set in yet, it's easy to throw me off. Even with really little things like not feeling well or extra stuff to get done during the week.

I'm not giving up though. I know if daily fiction writing was a habit I had for years, I can make it a habit again.

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