Life On A B-I7

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Journal Entry - Thursday, March 28, 2024


I have a fantasy of someday being a good writer. I’m pretty sure it takes more than writing every day to get there. Writing every day is a start. Other things help, not just with writing, but also with living. I’ve lifted these ideas from a Substack article by Saurav Mandel titled “7 Secret Habits That Will Make You an Unstoppable Writer.” I don’t want to be unstoppable, I just want to write well. Here are the author’s points with my take on what they mean. I’ve decided to adopt some of these into my daily practice (some of them I already have adopted).

Just to be clear, I don’t completely agree with Julia Cameron. She seems to believe that anyone can become a writer, all they have to do is write every day. I think she is using that as an argument to sell books about writing. I believe it takes, not just skill, but a natural inclination to tell a story, an inclination that, on a good day, I lack in large quantity. Still, I do this for now, because I find it rewarding. So here are the things I do in order to become better at writing — not necessarily to become a writer…

1 Hand-Copying (Going to give this one a try)

This one is new to me, something I’ve never even thought of doing. It’s an interesting idea. I am intrigued by the fact that Saurav mentions this one first. He suggests that by hand-copying the work of good writers, you engage mentally, visually, and physically to incorporate the words into your own innate approach to writing. He suggests this is the most powerful exercise you can do to improve your writing, you are “programming” your mind. I like that, especially since I spent a lifetime programming machines. I’m going to give this a try on my brain.

2 Walking (Definitely)

Akin to meditation, walking is a source of inspiration. Thirty minutes a day is all that is needed to generate ideas that can be used in my writing practice. Maybe as good as that is, it also provides health benefits. When you’re my age, it’s important to keep moving. Use it or lose it. Of course, cycling and skiing aren’t bad substitutes for walking.

3 Reading (Definitely)

Never stop reading. Reading is the lifeblood of writing. Not only does it inspire subject matter, but it also helps to expand and diversify my writing skills.

4 Journaling (Definitely)

I’m a huge fan of this practice. I’ve been journaling almost daily now for over three years. I have no plans to quit. The benefit to me has been enormous, not just in my writing practice but in other ways. Besides providing me with writing inspiration, it has given me the ability to look at myself and evaluate changes that I should make. It has also helped me improve my communication and dare I say, helped me help other people too.

5 Meditation (Definitely)

This is good for more than writing. Meditation is calming and helps to improve focus. Ten minutes a day is enough to be beneficial.

6 Watching TV (Nope)

Watching TV allows you to absorb dialog and storylines that may be inspirational. I’m not into watching TV. This isn’t my gig.

7 Doing Nothing (Nope)

I do this one pretty much naturally. The idea here is to give yourself some time each day to simply allow your mind to freely associate without any physical or mental distraction. Sounds a lot like meditation to me.

On the question of grammar, I have Grammarly installed (the free version) but I do have a bad habit of ignoring some of its recommendations. It wants to make my writing more clear, and in particular, more confident. I’m not ready to make my writing sound more confident. The world is much too complicated a place for me to be doing that…

Speaking of inspirational routines. (Most if not all of the referenced Items above.) I forgot to mention cleaning kitty’s food dishes and his litter box. Those activities could be just the thing to bring forth the next great American novel…

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