Wake Up and Write
I started to believe that I couldn’t write, wouldn’t write, and just needed to give up on that fanciful dream. I accepted my fate, decided to change my major, and I cleared off my blog. I was done.
When I was around 11 years old I decided that I wanted to become a writer. I picked up a pencil and a notebook and started creating what would soon become an eleven year old’s rip-off version of The Hobbit along with a heavy sprinkle of a few other fantasy books that sat on my bookshelf at the time.
That was the beginning.
Nine years later and I was still trying to convince myself that I could be a writer.
Throughout the years I wanted to believe that I was a writer, but my problem always was that writers write. And I don’t. Or rather, I didn’t.
Now, for the past 31+ days for almost every single day, I wake up and write.
There was a tipping point. A moment when suddenly, for no apparent reason, I got up and started writing every single day. I went from not writing at all (at best maybe a couple times a month) to writing every day. Sometimes I write a lot. Sometimes I can only write a little. But how did I do it?
How can I go from never writing and dreading even the thought of it to waking up in the morning, before anyone I know is out of bed, and I am actually excited to start writing?
- I started with me.
Most of my life I’ve tried to write great fantasy novels, inspirational how-to blogs, deep theological commentary, or practical solutions to complicated social issues. I was writing what I didn’t know.
It made me insecure about my words and made me feel like a fraud. Sometimes it could be exciting and challenging but more than anything it was stressful. I had standards and expectations that I couldn’t meet.
Now I just write about me. My life. My thoughts. My adventures and experiments. Sure, I find my way into some commentary on faith or try to be inspirational here and there but that isn’t my purpose. My purpose is simply to write what I know for sure. And right now in this stage of my life, that’s me.
- I forgot the “rules”.
I stopped reading other people’s blogs so much. I stopped thinking over and over about all the rules on how to “create a successful blog” or how to “create a viral post”. I don’t care. I just want to write. I’ll figure the rest out later. Who cares if I know all the tips and techniques when I can’t even sit my butt down to write? Let’s take care of the most important part first and I’ll worry about the rest down the road.
- I made it simple.
My first day I woke up a little earlier than usual, got some coffee, read the newspaper and then went to work (and I wonder why some people call me a 90-year-old trapped in a 19-year-old’s body). I didn’t even write the first day. The second day, I wrote for fifteen minutes. The next, around twenty-five. Then for forty-five. Then for a whole hour. I progressively eased myself into a simple routine until it started to stick.
- I began to limit myself.
In the past whenever I would get the inspiration and drive to begin writing I would sit down for hours on end and wear myself out. I would go and go until I was mentally drained and physically tired. All the words were out. All the creativity was gone.
I didn’t realize this until recently, but I needed to stop that. When I first started this routine, I was forced to stop because I ran out of time and had to go to work. Now, even on days when I am free to write all morning – I force myself to stop. This leaves some ideas and creativity left over to build up my anticipation for tomorrow.
My transformation is pretty simple and unspectacular.
I used to try to write about things I really didn’t know. Now I write only what I do know.
I used to chain myself down with all these rules and how-to tips. Now I just focus on creating words that somewhat make sense.
I used to write until mental and creative exhaustion. Now I limit myself and leave some ideas for tomorrow.
But more than anything, first thought every morning is to simply wake up and write.