As a writer, it is imperative that I keep a daily writing habit. If I practice writing every day, I am bound to get better. It feels productive when I write at least a page a day. And then, by the end of the year, I have a massive amount of writing that I can stare back at, explore, revise, and of course, reminisce about all of the past versions of myself. That is my favorite part.
Earlier in the summer, I was writing furiously about the death of my mother. Her passing occurred in October 2014, and I’ve written about that in more detail in my first post. By the time I finished writing about this deeply personal topic, I had so much material that I knew I had to try and get it published somewhere. After all, that is the goal as a writer.
I looked through many online poetry magazines and journals, and decided to submit to FIVE Poetry Magazine. They publish five poems from five poets every month. A few days ago, I received an email announcing that I would be published in this month’s issue. My collection, The Drowning Man: A Collection of Poems from the Grips of Grief, will hopefully touch a few people who have gone through a similar experience.
Naturally, I was (and still am) ecstatic! I can now say that my poetry has been published in Calliope and FIVE. As I sit down and reflect on these early successes, I remind myself that it is the daily writing habit which fuels me the most. Writing every day pushes me to get better. That is why I wanted to focus this second post on establishing a daily writing habit.
But if I am to be totally honest, writing every day can be very challenging. Sometimes, I am swamped with reading for school, I have other social obligations, or I am just plain tired at the end of a long week. But in those times, it is so important to produce a piece of writing, even if it is a lame poem complaining about your achy joints and bones. You have to write something!
Luckily for me, my daily reminder came in the form of a 1970s typewriter that my boyfriend ordered from Etsy a few weeks ago. Simply looking at this antiquated piece of machinery is like going back in time. It sits in our study atop a beautiful wooden desk, dominating the room with its nostalgic presence.
Every time I go into the study, the typewriter tempts me to type out a few words, and before you know it, I’ve fulfilled my writing quota for the day. It’s fun to write on the typewriter, and it slows me down like writing by hand so I have more time to choose each word with precision.
When it comes to reminding myself to write, a small thing like this can lead to a huge success. I call it a “cue.”
The cue seems to be the element of success when it comes to establishing a daily writing habit. A cue should be something that you do or see every day, so that each day, you’re reminded to write. When your cue happens, you must write. A cue can be something visual, or it can be a daily habit like drinking coffee or having lunch. I am going to challenge any of the writers who read this to start a daily writing habit. Just a page a day.
I promise, you just may be amazed by the results.