What I have learned over the past few weeks is that I am a periodic writer. I am not a habitual writer. I cannot keep a daily writing routine, I do not respond to any potential within a set quantity of words or feel unsettled if I do not write for a few days in a row. What I do respond to is my passion, my desire and my determination to make something of the words that frequently skip from my brain to my fingers and onto the page. But such occasions are spasms of motivation that rise and fall with my mood, my health and my ability to concentrate and feel worthy of the writing.
So often I have read that the most important step to becoming a writer is to ingrain writing into your life, to become it day in day out and have that incessant routine that will mean you can write any how, any where, any time. Well, I can do that – I can write in train stations, or waiting for the bus, I can make notes on envelopes, type eighty words a minute and have notebooks filled with ideas, I have written in the morning, during my lunch break, before bed and even woken up in the middle of the night desperate to record some semblance of my narrative that manifested itself in a dream. I can do that.
What I can’t do it keep up that pace for weeks and months on end. That fury and passion to make the words into something more is exhausting in itself and I am already contending with serial fatigue as it is. So, making writing into an everyday habit is not something that is for me. No, thank you. My writing is the type that comes in fits and bursts, that is tied up with manic periods of genius ideas and a desperate scurry to get them down followed by a lull of ambivalence: ready to return to the idea with fresh eyes once my mind has allowed it the freedom to emerge.
One of the other things I have often read about real writers is that there is no true way in which to approach it: that some will have one routine, others will have an entirely contradictory one in reply. The one point of agreement is that, in their writing habit, every writer is different. Well my approach is to not have so much as a writing habit so much as I simply take up the pen and write when the drive is there. For me, the drive will always be there, somewhere, stronger some days than others, but I will always go back to the writing – and I guess that is my habit: to return to the words once the drive to write overwhelms me.
And right now, the drive is slowly beginning to swell up again…