I’m a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. At the very least, I usually resolve to do something related to faith, something related to health, and something related to writing.
Last spring, a friend and I started a new writing routine. We live in different states, but we both woke up at 5 a.m. on weekdays to write. I felt revitalized. And I made a mental note: In 2017, I would resolve to write every single day.
Now that 2017 is actually here, my world looks a lot different than it did when I made that mental note. I have a different job, and my husband and I are getting ready to welcome our first child. Growing a child is glorious and beautiful, but it’s also exhausting. Those 5 a.m. wake-up calls stopped long ago. I thrive on routines, but pregnancy has given me a new-found appreciation for flexibility. I’ve learned to be gentle with myself, to listen to my body, and to stop stressing about my imperfections.
And in the process, I’ve learned to relax about writing.
It’s easy to romanticize the dedicated writer as someone who devotes herself to her craft, no matter the cost — early mornings, late nights, caffeine, whatever it takes. And I think there’s a part of me that used to want that for myself.
But I am not that writer.
There’s nothing romantic about being exhausted. And there’s also nothing romantic about putting tasks (even my favorite ones) ahead of my well-being. It’s not good for my health, my marriage, or the baby growing inside of me. And when those suffer, so does my writing — the very thing I stretch myself to improve.
I’ve spent the month of January thinking about resolutions. And this year, I’m trying a new approach. My resolution is two words: just write.
Instead of tracking how much time I spend writing or trying to fit it into a designated part of my day, I’m going to focus on simply writing. It will look different from day to day or week to week. The important thing is, it will get done.
I haven’t had a real writing routine for a few months now, but I’ve done more freelancing than I’ve ever done before. I’ve had more ideas. I’ve become more efficient and focused. I’ve met some of my deadlines early. And I’ve come to appreciate my writing time more because it’s not just a given part of my day — it’s something I actively make time for and savor.
Being a dedicated writer doesn’t mean being drained, or even following a perfect writing regimen. It means making a commitment to fit the thing I’m passionate about into the messy inconsistency of real life.