It Won’t Always Be A Home Run

Some days, the writing is just not going to go your way.

You might have a dozen ideas about where to start all in quick succession, only to find that not a single one works out.

There are so many reasons for this. It might be a lack of sleep, a cheeky hangover, some sort of pending stress that’s spurting nastiness all over your day, or, just as often, there’s really no good reason at all.

Some days you can pull it back and turn out something great in spite of the imperfect conditions. Other days though, it’s a win if you just get something down.

Days like this are where a consistent writing practice is really important.

It’s the same as an exercise habit: it won’t be a home run or a personal best every time you work out, but the important thing is to show up, do the work, and let that be good enough.

This is because our brains (and bodies) are most responsive to consistent patterns that take place over long periods of time. Biological systems like consistency — the same things over and over, not new things all the time.

That’s not to say you can’t have novelty; in fact, novelty is super important. But it needs to happen in addition to the sturdy basics, instead of replacing them.

So what are the sturdy basics of a writing practice?

1. Showing up regularly. Multiple times a week kind of regularly.
2. Digging past what’s easy or obvious, asking yourself why and is that true and what next?
3. Being honest with yourself, and brave enough to write it all down, even when it’s painful or unsettling or is going to force you to take action.

It doesn’t always have to be long. Often two or three pages is enough to get at some really interesting stuff. And if it’s not interesting? That’s fine too.

What matters is showing up, and giving yourself the opportunity to let whatever’s in there out.