When I was a kid, I had this idea that creativity was just something that happened to you — you just saw down and there it was, like a wellspring ready to be tapped. And if it wasn’t there, well, good luck in actually getting anything done. Somehow I parsed the idea of writing as something that would be easy and fast — I liked to tell stories, after all! I liked to make things up and be creative and use whatever resources I had to make a whole that was greater than the sum of its parts. And I guess when I was a kid, this was sort of the case; it certainly was easier to write often and write a lot.
Then I hit high school and a lot of academic pressure was on; my parents were pushing me hard to make the Very Very Best Grades I could possibly make, because the family expected me to go to an Ivy League and of course that was going to happen because I was a smart girl! I could do anything and go anywhere I wanted!*
* I did put my foot down about Ivy Leagues fairly early on. They’re prestigious and they probably would have looked good on my first resume, but I am also pretty sure I would have exploded from stress before the end of my first year. Just, blort! And there’d be no more me, just a vibrating ghost of sheer frustration.
After that, writing became harder to maintain and keep up with. I sort of got into the swing of things again in college, because I was in a science major and while there were labs to be attended and completed, after my freshman year there was very little in the way of long papers or critical analysis or essays. The longest paper I ever wrote in college was 10 pages double-spaced for a freshman English course; everything went down from there. So I had the time to write more, and I did write more, though not nearly as much. Then I graduated and I began working full time and boy howdy, that was when everything slowed to a grinding halt. I was still writing, I was still completing things, but it was harder and a lot like pulling teeth. I’d tell myself it was all right to skip [x] night because I was tired, or [y] day because I had things to do, but in reality, even with the tired and the things to do, there was a lot of free time I was just kind of letting slip by.
I think if I really regret anything, it would be that; I am not the worst at discipline (though neither am I the best), but when I let myself go, I really just sort of let things go. Now, though, I have goals! and ambitions! that I would like to see fulfilled, and as much as I thought things would just magically happen as a kid, as an adult (or would-be adult), I find it’s a lot easier and I’m a lot more likely to get things done if I actually schedule my fun time. I think as a kid I would have protested that; part of me still protests that. But I average something like six hours between getting home and going to bed, and in that time I usually have to a) feed myself/roommates, b) feed the cat c) make lunch for the next day, d) write e) shower f) other. I’d like for “other” to include things like doing the dishes so the sink doesn’t become gross and start reading regularly again.
So I have a schedule! I have a plan! Today I attempt to begin implementing it! Wish me luck.