I recently read a quote on writing I absolutely loved. It’s from Joe Beernink, who said, “Don’t write to become famous or to make a lot of money. Write because you love it. Write because not writing for more than a few days feels like you have abandoned a puppy in a mineshaft. Save the puppy.” The words resonated with me so much, because that’s exactly how I feel. I don’t take days off from writing. Ever. Others may feel boxed-in by strict self-imposed word count goals, but I love them. Having a set word count for the day inspires me, makes me stretch and push past my own equally self-imposed limitations and is my #1 antidote to feeling creative block. I write at least 1,000 words a day, 7 days a week, every single week, every single year, basically no matter what. And to be clear, I’m certainly not suggesting that anyone who doesn’t is less of a writer or less dedicated to their craft. That’s just my own process, what works for me.
I write in good times and bad times. For years, now, I’ve written 1,000 words a day through sickness and new babies and logistical life craziness and tragedy and grief. Even at the lowest, darkest moments, I’ve written because quite simply, however hard life feels in that moment, however hard it is to pick myself up and sit down at the keyboard, not writing would be harder still. And there’s obviously a practical benefit to keeping to a hard and fast writing schedule. Since this time last year, I’ve published 5 books I love and am so happy and grateful to have released into the world.
And yet. There’s always that little, and yet, isn’t there? Because there’s also, in our culture, the very prevalent worship of the “hustle.” We wear busy-ness as a badge of honor, take a certain strange pride in the length of our to-do lists, and convince ourselves that if we just hustle hard enough, we’ll somehow unlock the magical keys to success, riches, rainbows and happiness or whatever our goals might be. Now, of course I believe in the power of hard work and discipline. But the answer isn’t quite as simple as that.