Thursday, March 4, 2010

Resistance to daily writing

I've been reading lists of tips on writing from famous writers that were part of a series of articles in the Guardian ( Many of the writers suggest reading Brenda Ueland's classic words on the subject, and they cite her recommendation that you write every day and write first thing in the morning.

My own teacher, Eric Maisel, counsels the same things for writers and all other sorts of creatives. You tap into the liminal space between sleep and waking if you do, he says. You get it out of the way.

William Stafford, a famous Oregon poet, wrote every day for an hour or two before his family got up. He created thousands of poems that way. He saw writing as his soul's work and he wanted to be sure it got done before the day got away from him.

I have been unable to see why I resist this so strongly. I live alone and can arise any time I want. I can turn on the light, go to my office, pull up my novel and have at it. I wouldn't even have to get up particularly early, except on gym days and even then, we don't go before 8:30. I do have morning routines, tea and a journal, a quick check of email, a tidying up of the house and the kitchen before the day begins. I could do those things at night, even the journal writing.

The truth is, like many suggestions for creatives, I haven't tried it. When I say to myself that isn't going to work for me, I'm not speaking from experience. I'm speaking from habit, from routine, from the deep rut I've carved into my mornings over the last 10 years.

What might happen if I wrote every morning? Maybe I'm afraid to find out. Maybe I need to find out.

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