I don’t know exactly how long it took before the practice of writing became such a habit that my body and mind were trained to produce streams of prose on command. Since the beginning of July I’ve been getting up at 4:45am and spending 75 minutes each morning at the keyboard, streaming FocusAtWill and forcing myself to put the words down. At first it was very difficult, as those words didn’t want to be put down no matter how much I willed it. They didn’t go down without a fight. That’s because writing is a direct line to my heart and its pain, and my subconscious can be pretty resistant to opening that line. Seems the inside me would rather keep that stuff pent up.
Gradually something happened and a door was opened and the words began to leak out, then they began to flow, and then they began to flood. All I had to do was stand out of the way and let them go by me onto the page. That’s the hard part, standing out of the way, that and beginning – but since it is a habit now to rise every day and do the same thing, it just seems to get done. If things get jammed up halfway through, I realize now that it is because I am accessing some ancient hurt. I remind myself that these days I am safe and it is OK to let that old pain out, to pour it into the middle of the table and have a look at it.
I’d always heard that writers need to show up at the page every day in order to write – that it’s not about inspiration, it’s about consistency. It’s not about the ministrations of art, it’s about the daily schedule of work. It’s not about catching creative flights on the muse’s schedule. It’s about telling the muse when to show up, and then being there to meet her. I have applied that theory to my own experience and I have found it to be true.