It’s a realization I keep having over and over again – and really, maybe I should hold onto what I know already instead of trying to reinvent the wheel – that momentum is a huge deal for my writing process. And by huge, I mean able to derail it for weeks.
I need to write every day. Rain or shine, week day or weekend, sick or travelling, I need at least an hour when I am able to focus exclusively on writing. Even if I’m tired or distracted, even if I end up writing 350 words and deleting them all the next day, I need to sit down and do it anyway. Otherwise, with every skipped day it’s getting harder to write anything at all, to get my mind into the writing groove. It’s like the words are a train: once I get them going and keep them going by regularly shoveling more in, they flow smoothly, and faster with every passing day. If I let them dribble to a stop, it’s a whole big affair and a lot of effort to get them moving again later.
I know that. And yet, I keep letting other things come first – because “I don’t feel like writing today,” or family is visiting so it’s rude to leave them alone to write, or I’ve had a busy day and am tired, or my anxiety is flaring and I don’t feel mentally capable of focusing. But every single time, I regret it later, because the effort of just sitting down and doing it would have been tiny compared with restarting the momentum, which is like walking against strong wind. In knee-deep snow. Not to mention, I always feel happier and more balanced, mentally, when I do write every day. So that’s a bonus, too.
I know it’s not the same for everyone – some people need their weekends away from the words, or thrive on writing sporadically but in huge leaps, or prefer to scribble for a few minutes here and there rather than sit down an focus for hours. This is the way that works for me, though, and maybe by writing it down here, I will finally use that knowledge the next time I try to say “meh, not today.”