The Daily Habit of Poor Writing
“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.”
I write best sitting at a coffee shop. Preferably a rustic, downtown coffee shop with the buzz of the people drowned out by my headphones. The fresh aroma of coffee and the concentrated people around me allow me to enter the state of flow and write a single blog post.
But there are days I don’t make it to a coffee shop. Time escapes from me, as it will do, and I’m left at 11:00 pm with only an hour to write.
It’d be so much easier to go to bed. It’d be easier to put it off until tomorrow.
I don’t write well when I’m at home. I can’t concentrate when I’m this tired. I won’t be able to create something good enough to put out into the world to be criticized.
If you look at any great writer, though, most will reveal that they have a daily writing habit.
Stephen King used to write six pages a day; John Steinbeck advised that you lose track of the 400-page book and write just one page a day. In almost every instance of greatness, the writer produces.
No matter how bad the distractions. No matter how horribly distant greatness seems. No matter how scatterbrained the thoughts and words are. Poor writing is better than no writing.
Contrary to popular thought, or at least how I viewed writing, it’s not some free fall creative expression. It’s a slow, steady climb up a treacherous mountain.
In outlining a writer’s day, Pressfield says,
I am keenly aware of the Principle of Priority, which states (a) you must know the difference between what is urgent and what is essential, and (b) you must do what’s important first. What’s important is the work.
The Resistance is a vicious beast that will do its very best to tear you away from your work. The difference between mediocrity and greatness is the way we fight off the beast. The difference is in our daily habits.
Turning pro is like kicking a drug habit or stopping drinking. It’s a decision to which we must recommit every day. Twelve-step programs say “One Day at a Time.” The professional…