Creating Writing Habits

All sorts of books and authors have all sorts of different opinions about how we should lead creative lives.  One of the biggest debates is on the subject of habits.

There’s a school of thought that says that it doesn’t matter when you create, as long as you are creating when you can.  If it’s five hours or five minutes, all of that time is valuable and useful for an artist or a writer.  Your creative life should be something that you fit into your normal life, not the other way around.

The other school of thought is to budget time during the day when you can write or create.  It could be the hour after you wake up.  It could be the hour before you go to bed.  The idea here is to return to the space of creation day after day so that you’re really finding yourself a creative space, even if it is mostly mental.

I swing back and forth between the different places.  Sometimes I find myself needing to budget that time so that I don’t use school and life as an excuse to not create.  Sometimes, I just have to create, regardless of the when or where.

Both methods have their useful points.  In one, you’re just doing writing instead of playing phone games on the bus or while you’re taking your lunch break.  In the other, you’re pulling your hour together, instead of splitting it up during the day so that you can reach a much more creative space in your head and your heart.

But both have their downfalls.  Maybe you won’t have time to fit the writing into on busy days.  Maybe the hour you set aside has to be dedicated to a larger project that you’re working on for work or school or family.

The worst part may be that people will try to demand your time.  Your friends and family, co-workers and bosses may have other plans for your time.  When they see you sitting and scribbling away, or typing away, they may take that as a sign that you don’t have anything else to do.  That means that they may try to get you to go out and do things like errands or extra work to keep you busy.

For a long time, I have struggled with my creative life because of the individuals in my life that need my attention.  Some are friends and family, some are not.  All of them have valid reasons to want to spend time with me or have me do things.  I’m a human after all and I have relationships to maintain.

But if you are a creative individual and you find people in your life getting on your case for spending that time that you dedicate to your craft, then accept that they have reasons and that you need to work with them, not against them.  Your creative life, your work life, your social life, and your family life need to work together to create a kind of harmony.  Your habits should be something you follow, but not something that stops you from being the person you want to be.

That being said, if you want to spend four hours working, then go for it!  Just remember to get up and stretch every now and then.  And remember to eat food and drink water.  Take care of yourself mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

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