New habit

I’ve decided to change up my daily ritual. I’ve been reading snippets from this book, aptly titled Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey, and it gives a brief view of many different popular writers, painters, etc. and how they worked every day. Some work by the darkness of the early day, some throughout the day, and some at night. Gertrude Stein required a half hour of writing every day of herself.

For the most part, though, most of the artists featured in the book were early birds, which may explain why all the worms have been gone by the time I’ve awoken in the past.

So I’m trying the whole early thing, and this is my first attempt. Last night, I took some melatonin tablets and, after a cigarette, laid down for sleep at 9:30. I know. Cigarettes are bad, and especially right before sleep, but hey, get off my back, Mom. I had alarms set for 5 and 5:30 and my usual alarms for work at 6 and 6:30, because I can never seem to wake up with ease.

This morning, I had my usual middle-of-the-night having to pee, so I did that, and when I returned to bed, I checked the clock, and it said 4:30. I laid down for a bit, and got back up around 4:40-4:45 and turned off all my alarms. I’m a rebel, I know. Some coffee and toast followed, and I’ve been writing since. This is day one. Let’s hope there are many more.

Habits

Oh boy! I’ve been writing a lot. And by a lot, I mean every day. After some reading on other writers, I’ve found some interesting things. First off, the best advice for writing is this, and you’ll hear it from just about any professional writer out there: write, write, and write some more.

What I’ve done, after hearing of Gertrude Stein’s habitual writing, is to just write every day. There was a great article on 99u in which the author had a 373-day streak of writing. But Stein wrote a half hour every day. That’s it. And Jamie Todd Rubin, the 99u writer, had written more on some days, but on others, he’d write just 15 minutes. The point being: write, no matter how many or how few words you write each day, if you enjoy writing, stop talking about writing and just do it.

Do I have anything that I feel like I could submit. Theoretically, yes. But the short fiction I’ve been writing lately is unpolished. I haven’t edited a darn thing, but I do have a few pieces that may actually be good. One in particular I just finished was the story of a man and his son crossing the border to the land of opportunity, except it’s not the standard idea of immigrants as we see them. The people are the same, but the border is different. The theme, and what I hope people will take from it once it’s edited and polished is to have empathy. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes, which is something which is lacking in our world. There are so many ways, so many words and ideas and categories into which people are placed to dehumanize them. So many people find it easy to hate people they’ve never met because of their situation in life.

I’m near a month into my habit. I had a streak going before that, but I never kept track of it. Now, each day, I have this app on my Android phone (iPhone 6? No thanks, I can get all those features in an Android phone from last year) in which you set up daily goals you want to make a routine, and you just check off the days when you accomplished that feat. I like lists, and I like checking things off lists, which is something anyone can do to become more productive, no matter what it is you want to do.

After some more work, I’ll have plenty of things to post up here, but some of them I want to save for submission to some magazines. Maybe some day, I’ll receive a small check for my fiction. The day I’m a paid fiction writer, which is something I’ve done for a long time, but only sporadically and with little prior attention to detail, but when the day comes I get a few hundred bucks in return for such writing will be a glorious one indeed.