I’ve had a few people ask me about writing habits, what compels me to write, and how to keep the habit.
A couple of thoughts:
Don’t worry about what it looks like, or how much of it you’re doing.
Don’t worry about who’s reading it, or what they’re saying, or whether or not anyone’s reading it.
Don’t worry about whether or not it’s “the right time,” or that you’re in your pajamas at 1 AM scrawling out a couple of things.
Don’t worry if it’s 6 AM and you forgot to wash your face and you still need to brush your teeth and the coffee is cold, or warm, or not even made at all–or if you’re on your tenth cup.
Don’t worry about whether you’re writing on a bus in between trips, on a notebook without any lines on it, on a age-old laptop (mine’s called Tubby, by the way, ’cause he’s a real chunker), or whether you’re working in Pages or Word or Tumblr or WordPress.
Don’t worry if you switch topics and platforms and ideas and think that it’s all confusing other people. It doesn’t matter.
Maybe don’t make too much of a plan, other than the basic commitment to keep showing up and writing about whatever you want to write about.
Don’t worry–at least not yet, and maybe not even then–about what it adds up to, or what it will become, or even why you’re doing it.
Don’t worry about only having 20 or 30 minutes a day to write; don’t be discouraged. Keep writing, whenever and however you can. A couple thoughts a day for a month can add up before you know it. Write when you can, and thank yourself for doing it.
Don’t worry about the fact that your life doesn’t look like a “writer’s lifestyle,” or the fact that you have a job or you only have limited time each day to write. Mark Twain was an insurance salesman, if it makes you feel any better.
Don’t worry about whether or not you don’t have a bed to sleep in at the moment, or if you have a house over your head, or if the bed you do have is too short for you so you’ve got to sleep on the concrete floor in your sleeping bag for a couple of months.
Don’t worry about the people who don’t understand why you need to write, and if someone tells you that writing isn’t important or that you aren’t a good writer or that you shouldn’t spend so much time writing, by all means do it anyway, because it’s not about whether or not they think you should write, but about whether or not you think you should write.
Don’t worry about not getting enough sleep, about forgetting to wear deodorant, about feeling incompetent, about not being sure what to say.
Don’t worry if your first ten, twenty, or an entire year’s worth of posts are shit and you can’t figure out if you’ll ever be able to string together words in the way you want to.
Just keep writing. Writers write.
Remember: Just keep writing. The only way to become a writer is to write.
And all of the above, for me, has been true. And I kept writing, and so should you.—
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