Writing every day used to come easily. Once, a professor asked my class who there wrote every day. No one raised their hand but me, and he told me I was full of shit. Back in those days, I was full of shit for a bunch of different reasons but lying about writing every day wasn’t one of them. Despite my daily practice, it took me seven years to complete a book about the French Revolution that I’m still not happy with. It took years to realize that writing every day is a practice dedicated to its own perpetuation, like jogging. After moving to Boston, without the external expectation of school or a big project, the daily practice was pushed to the wayside in favor of work and friends. My writing muscles got flabby. Very flabby.
As time has moved on and I’ve tried to push my French novel up the unforgiving publication hill without success, I’ve grown jaded about writing. Why bother with something that requires so much mental energy when there is no payoff, no recognition of my work? I stopped writing, save for the few pieces that go up on the blog (which was more of a practice of self-love than anything else). I talked to other writers for inspiration and advice, to no avail. No one was interested in reading my novel. I took a class on cover letters, and the agent who led it said that people want happy stories, not revolution. I thought about throwing the whole project, over ten years of my life, away.
I lamented to a former mentor about my struggles, and she told me to put the novel down and start on something else. So, I did. Over the last couple of months, I’ve tried hard to get back into the practice of writing. Not every day, mind you. There’s too much in my life for every day. But I do take Mondays off, and Sundays warrant some time. There was a week where I challenged myself to write 100 pages in 7 days and actually made it over the finish line. Since then, I’ve written 100 more.
What’s more? They’re good. In a couple of weeks, the first full draft will be ready for my beta readers. There’s something to be said for a writing practice, even if it isn’t every day.
Little by little, a book was made.