Practice makes perfect.
It’s the oldest lesson in the book. And, like so many clichés, it’s probably true. And like so many true things, we need to be reminded of it regularly.
They say it takes something like 29 days to build a habit. In my experience, it takes about 1/29th of that time to break one. It’s funny how we can be forgetful about habits. That’s part of their nature. We get used to the action so it becomes kind of mindless. We do something so much that we no longer have to think as much about doing it. Thus, it makes a certain sense why we don’t always notice when we’ve stopped doing something.
I stopped writing some time ago. I’m not sure how long. I know I had been writing regularly for some time. I actually had a fairly productive streak going, and then it occurred to me last week that I had stopped. I don’t know when the break happened exactly. But I know why.
Life happened. Money happened. Time happened. And I found a lot more productive things to do with my time, because I was in crisis mode. And I’ve been there for some time. And in crisis mode, “productive” means work, real work, something that pays or will pay.
The thing is, and the reason I likely didn’t notice the break sooner, I have still been writing. Blogging. Regular Instagram posts. #CreateLounge. But I stopped writing stories. And, of all the things I’m working on right now, stories, sadly, are the one thing that isn’t really paying.
Yes, I know, they could in the future. God willing they just might. But there are a lot of other things that are closer to paying or actually paying. And, as I said, crisis mode.
This break isn’t anything too new. Not to me, and not, I would wager, to a lot of writers. It usually comes after the completion of a lengthy project. It happens to me most Decembers. After spending a whole month with NaNoWriMo, I tend to feel a little burned out on words.
But this time is different. A lot of things are different right now. I’m operating very much without a net. And, all the old sayings are true, it’s easy to risk, to write, when you have a backup plan, or a day job. I have neither of those things. Crisis mode.
But, all the old sayings are true. And, like I keep learning, we have to do the important thing when it’s hard. Otherwise, when it’s easy, when we won’t be able to do it.
We have to hone the ability continuously. When we have plenty of time and when we don’t. When we feel like we can afford to and when we don’t.
Write the words now. Maybe we’ll use them later. But one thing is for sure we’ll need the skill. And who knows, we might learn a thing or two along the way.
After all, practice makes perfect.