It’s hard to write every day

It’s hard to write every day.

The weird thing is, I knew that when I had a job, and before that, when I was a student. It was hard to write every day because there was a lot going on, and I was usually very tired, and there was always some additional thing that could get done, or failing that, some more relaxing thing that could take priority. Writing is an exhausting pursuit. It’s like having a full-time job and being expected to go home and chip away at a block of marble until the sculpture inside reveals itself. It’s not something you can always do every day.

For some reason, though, now I’m rediscovering that from scratch. I guess in part it’s about free time; I assumed that, now gifted with all the time I could possibly need, the writing would just happen. But it hasn’t (pretty obviously). It looks like, with so much time spent not writing, I forgot the other major factor at play: that writing is the most difficult hobby I pursue.

There are plenty of things I enjoy and can’t always do, even now. I love art, photography, hiking, exploring. Mental illness can get in the way of those, just as surely as it gets in the way of writing. But on days where I do get something done, all the other hobbies are infinitely less intimidating. There’s a certain rigor. There are tangible end goals to each of them, and there are obvious, stated rules and tools for improving my skill. There are specific works and styles I can emulate, either as a part of a project’s goal or just to practice something new. They are all, in their ways, very concrete hobbies. I may not always be able to take the photo I want, but at least I can look at what I’ve done and know it isn’t right.

Writing isn’t like that. Sure, there are tips on how to improve your writing or what to avoid, but those are stylistic questions. There’s no structure waiting for you to build on it. Even when you have an outline ready, it doesn’t make it easier to get out all the sentences you need to actually bridge points A and B. And that’s assuming you’re even sure B is where you’re going. It’s like deciding to walk from Florida to Toronto, but with a map that’s completely blank except for a small circle labeled, “maybe stop in New York?”. Like, that might be the way to do things, but it’s completely unhelpful in terms of actionable steps. You have a whole infinity to discover, and you will likely do it wrong a million times before you do it right, and that will be true every step of the way.

This has all been a very long-winded way of saying that I will keep at it, because I love writing, and I remember being pretty good at it once, but that for today, I don’t really know what to say.

It’s hard to write every day.

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