turning hobbies into habits

I wrote my first fiction story in second grade, as far as I remember. That year my siblings and I moved in with my father, to Sunset Park, Brooklyn. He bought us a Nintendo 64, which came with the game Duke Nukem 64, an alien shoot-em-up that still haunts me to this day. My first story, as a result, involved an alien invasion, and probably featured me and my friends as we saved the world. I wrote that twenty years ago, and the ease with which I used to write stories like that has all but vanished. Logics temper my creativity now. I’m impatient. Satisfaction with my work is hard to come by. And routines, moreso than raw moments of inspiration, give me mastery of my craft.

I had a recent exchange with someone on Reddit who wanted an accountability buddy of sorts, someone to speak with about writing goals. This user claims to write 2500 words a day, and wants to hit 5000. I balked at the thought: I aim for an hour a day, or at least 500 words. I used to type 300 words a day, so there’s been measurable change for me, and it’s something I can sustain. As I read in a recent Writer’s Digest post, writing is like running–jogging, really–where the most important thing is to just do it. It’s not a race or a competition. You don’t have to share with anyone. And it’s okay to adjust your schedule and goals as necessary.

I just finished Kizumonogatari by NISIOISIN, the subject of my first blog post. The author published his first book at twenty years old, and cranks out multiple books per month. I envy that level of productivity, even though I shouldn’t. At the end of the day, if I’m going to be happy with myself and my work, I have to work at my own pace. But most importantly, I have to write. There are no perfect moments of inspiration and clarity. There is only my willpower and my keyboard.