Well, awkwardness be gone!
Writing has always come to me in waves. poetry, blogging, essays, stories, emails, descriptions of pretty hair accessories - whatever I'm writing, the words are never steady. I'm a good writing-sprinter. This process works for many, many writers.
A few weeks ago I decided it doesn't work for me anymore.
If you know me, you're probably used to my dramatic, sweeping lifestyle changes. Every few years or so I have a new job, life path, hobby, partner, apartment, and favorite snack (Triscuits!). But these things have remained mostly the same after year one here in San Francisco. Still a poet, 4+ years with Sal in the same apartment (good god I never want to move again). And while the last two years were full of many new things, as I begin my third year in San Francisco this month, I realize that I've kinda got this down. Perhaps that's why I'm doing so well with starting a new daily-writing habit.
Most of the time, I decide to do something and then do it for a day and then forget. Or I do it for 5 minutes and get distracted. Occasionally I do it for a few weeks and then forget. And sometimes I decide to do something and I do it. Today. Yesterday doesn't matter (though I'm proud of it), tomorrow will come (though I do prepare for it). Today is most important. Today I spent four hours in a cafe (mostly) writing, which included the following exercises:
- revising old poems
- revising more recent poems
- reading old journal entries
- writing word lists
- pilfering words from the Hayes Valley Newsletter
- pilfering words from word lists
- writing 11-syllable lines
- turning 11-syllable lines into a sonnet
I also spent time doing the following non-writing things:
- writing postcards (doesn't count as creative writing for now)
- posting pictures of tea and breakfast to Instagram
- Tweeting too much
- IMing with Sal about Justin Timberlake & Jay Z concert tickets
- securing said Justin Timberlake & Jay Z concert tickets (24th row!)
My estimate would be at least 2/3 of my time was spent on writing, which is pretty good for me. I'm not so distracted because small exercises like word lists or 11-syllable lines count as writing time. I never have to draft a poem even. It helps that I'm reading Jane Hirshfield's Nine Gates simultaneously. She describes both boredom and interest as distractions. I don't write because I desperately want to in these morning hours: I write because it's my job, my art, my life-work. I'm developing habits so that later in life I'm not struggling with the same old tired issues, and I can learn to concentrate, in that poem-making way, on what it is I have to say.