Reverb 10.2: Redundant Habits


Yesterday’s Reverb 10 prompt had me thinking for awhile without a satisfactory answer.

December 2 – Writing.
What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
(Author: Leo Babauta)

Could I really be that efficient? My days aren’t all the same but most of them involve the following activities:

  • Sleeping
  • Eating
  • Hygiene & grooming
  • Swimming
  • Email
  • Facebook/Twitter
  • Blogging
  • Writing for deadline-based assignments
  • Working on the novel
  • Phone conversations
  • Meeting friends
  • Cultural activities (movies, events, literary discussions, festivals)

Even when I’m not writing, I am doing something that either triggers off ideas or rekindles inspiration or relaxes/supports my system in being able to stay creative and energetic.

And this is a tremendous realisation. Last year, after I quit my job, I agonized a great deal over the inefficiency of my schedule. Being used to as I was, to a tightly-packed day with at least 8-10hours of work ending in tangible deliverables, it was a paradigm shift. I found it very difficult to accept the idea that I could not, try as I might, write for 8 hours a day or even daily. I could not set a daily word/chapter goal and hope to realistically finish it.

It’s been over a year and I’ve made my peace with some of that now. I do something involved with writing every single day. Some days I’m just bursting with new ideas and I spend those just listing them out or spinning unfinished pieces. There are odd moments, concentrated bursts of creativity where I can see a story or a chapter or a post literally materialize in front of my eyes. Since I now have the luxury of time and a computer at my disposal, I usually get up and jot it down immediately. These don’t happen often but often enough to keep me hooked to the pursuit of the creative spark. And finally, the majority of the days see me able to write a little, think a little, talk a little and work a little. The bulk of the boring stuff like fact-checking, housekeeping, mail management, editing, cleaning up and actually posting happens then. It’s a more fluid rhythm than I was used to in the corporate world, but it is a rhythm nevertheless.

I guess I don’t really have a redundant habit that doesn’t contribute to my writing and that I should drop. Which can only be a good thing. 🙂

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6 thoughts on “Reverb 10.2: Redundant Habits

  1. Kalyan December 3, 2010 at 16:40 Reply

    Interesting, I guess a writer never sleeps. Or would this apply to any passion. If you were passionate about your earlier job, would you have thought about it all the time. Would a chef look for inspiration at all points… you get the drift…what say?

    Like

    • IdeaSmith December 3, 2010 at 17:44 Reply

      @Kalyan: Umm, I was inclined to think that it’s because a writer’s world is about creating new worlds and everything is inspiration. But perhaps that’s true of any expression of creativity.

      Like

  2. Lakshmi December 4, 2010 at 03:42 Reply

    You’re so right! I had the same realization myself… In my experience, the writing happens when it has to. You just gotta be ready (with a pen/laptop) when it happens. I love to go back and reread my old posts. Some of them strike me as so inspired, so GOOD… that I marvel at them myself. And wonder how it happened. And feel happy that the writing chose me to flow through…

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    • IdeaSmith December 4, 2010 at 15:40 Reply

      @Lakshmi: Amen to that! (Especially the last line).

      Like

  3. Kim December 4, 2010 at 09:28 Reply

    As far as I know–and I may be completely wrong–the prompt came from a nonfiction writer, which may be a really good reason for his approach. Fiction writers need rich lives with lots of things that don’t necessarily look productive, but *are*. Sounds like you’re on the right track! I hope you keep going with the prompts throughout the month.

    Like

    • IdeaSmith December 4, 2010 at 15:41 Reply

      @Kim: Ah, right, I see that. I wondered why a writer would pose such a question and figured it was a key to open up the introspection process. But I guess things work differently with fiction and nonfiction writers. Thank you for your kind words of encouragement! 🙂

      Like

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