“When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. The Muse takes note of our dedication. She approves. We have earned favor in her sight. When we sit down and work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings. Ideas come. Insights accrete.”
Love this comment! Steven is the author of The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles. This is one of my all-time favorite writing handbooks. It is inspiring, easy to read, well crafted, and a fount of wisdom about how to get out of your own way and do the work you love, the work you were born to do.
Surely, most successful writers will agree with our boy Steve that making any headway in developing craft and confidence requires daily devotion. Just as weekend warriors who engage in start-and-stop sports pursuits risk injuring themselves, so writers who work in fits and starts may ultimately find this approach less satisfying and effective than committing to a daily writing strategy. I know this has been true for me.
I’ve learned the value of this daily approach in writing this blog. There is definitely something cumulative and soul-satisfying about showing up every day for a task that you feel is important and that matters to you, both emotionally and professionally. You build momentum. You learn to celebrate small victories and handle bumps in the road more skillfully. You gain confidence in your ability to make steady progress in the face of the inevitable distractions that you’ll encounter.
But most of all, you learn that you can depend on yourself — that you’re willing to invest time, energy, and brainpower to accomplish a goal. Just knowing that you’ll do whatever it takes day by day to get where you want to go signals to the universe that you’re serious, you’re not going to give up, and that you’re willing to go the distance — even though you may be traveling it inch by inch. That’s OK — it’s the forward motion that counts.
So, if you’re already engaged in a daily writing practice, then bravo! If this isn’t your MO right now, then that’s fine, too. But you might consider committing to a week or two of daily writing — even just for 15 minutes — and see how it feels. You might be surprised. But wherever you are, be kind to yourself. And write on!