I’ve already failed to make this resurrected tumblr a weekly blog on writing process. But I should know by now that setbacks are inevitable for someone who never had much writing discipline in the first place. I want to offer some reasons why I failed not only to update this blog but also to work regularly on my writing sample these past couple of weeks.
It’s important to remember as well that setbacks are integral to developing any skill. Through them, you learn what clearly works and what does not. Setbacks serve to underline the bad habits that cause them. A whole week of writing may die by the cuts of a thousand quotidian habits that have little to do with writing itself. These habits can rob one of the motivation, energy, and focus required to write consistently.
Even having one or two beers after work might prevent me from writing that evening. I begin to lose focus, become prone to distraction, and generally do not produce well under a buzz. I’ve realized that I’m not made in the romanticized image of the writer sitting down to work with a glass of wine. And so in an effort to make my evenings after work more productive, I’ve decided to cut out all alcohol during the week and drink only on Fridays and Saturdays, when I have more free time to sleep in and shake off a hangover.
Another bad habit: browsing my smartphone in bed before I fall asleep. I lose at least an hour of sleep a night to backlit screens, which can trigger an increase in cortisol levels, making it more difficult to fall asleep. This loss of sleep in turn affects my ability to wake up early enough in the morning to read and write before work, and at the end of the day I feel my energy levels much more depleted than usual. Lately, I’ve struggled even just to get up in time for work. No more screens in bed, then, and I’ve got to focus more on getting a full night’s rest.
I have reason to be optimistic though. Many of the habits that affect my writing also affect the quality of my strength conditioning and workout at the gym. Since I’m going to start training in Muay Thai in the next couple of weeks, on top of the kettlebell routines I already do, I can’t afford to drink much during the week or to get less than 8 hours of sleep a night. The extra demands I’ll be putting on my body will force the changes in habit I also need to start writing more consistently.
By Sunday at the very latest, I’ll finally get around to writing about my new methods of research organization. As I’ve said before, I appreciate any comments or feedback any of you might have.