Routine: My Favorite Fuel for Writing · 3 April 2021

My favorite fuel for writing is routine.

My morning routine includes a quick jaunt on Twitter. There waiting for me nearly every day is the #SixWordStory prompt. I relish the chance to write a six word story. To follow the prompt and think of six or less words for a story. (I sometimes break the rules and go with seven, but that is a different story.) The other day, I had to reply to another prompt besides the #SixWordStory.

The prompt was not really a prompt. It was a question from a writer. The question was: “What is your favorite fuel for writing?”

I am sure that the writer was looking for people to reply with different foods that they eat to get ready for writing. Peanuts, popcorn, hearty breakfast, delicious lunch, seven-course dinner. Something along those lines. But for me, writing has nothing to do with food or inspiration. So like normal, I interpreted the prompt in my own way.

Routine truly is my fuel for writing. It does not matter whether I eat anything before I write. It just matters that writing is part of my daily routine. Sometimes I have breakfast before writing. Sometimes I have no breakfast at all. But always, writing comes in the morning before the day really gets going.

I have had only a few days since I have been writing six days a week where I did not stick to my routine. Those few days, I wrote somewhere after I had started the day in earnest. Those few days, I did not get much written. Those few days, I realized that my best fuel for writing was routine. So I make sure that I write each morning as a way to start the day.

People think that writing is a mystical art and few there are privy to its secrets. But the secret to getting better at writing, to becoming a real writer (whether anybody reads or not) is just writing. To become a writer, you need to write. And write and write and write. Period. Nothing takes the place of doing what you want to be good at. Just do it. Over and over and over and over and over again. (I have gotten into the habit of doing three, so I thought I would mix things up a bit.)

The saying that practice makes perfect is, of course, a fallacy. Practice has never made perfect. Not unless you can practice perfectly. Which is impossible. But practice does indeed make permanent. One of my younger brother’s coaches told him that long ago. It has stuck with me ever since. Practice makes permanent. Practice make permanent. (Did you think I was going to say, “Practice makes permanent,” a third time?)

Which is where routine comes in. Routine is the perfect food for writing. Because, of course, practice makes permanent.

I did not see any Twitter notifications that anybody liked my reply, so I figure most people thought I was crazy for not thinking of some sort of food as fuel for writing. But I know what works for me. And it works for everybody who wants to be good at anything. Get in a routine and follow that routine and you will get good at it. Or at least it will be permanently ingrained in your being. Truth be told, that is what makes people great at anything. When you keep doing anything for long enough, you will hopefully get better at doing it. Maybe a few people might appreciate you in the process. But it does not really matter. What matters is the doing. And what matters for the doing is routine. Do it every day.

Which brings me back to the beginning and the Twitter prompt. My favorite fuel for writing is routine. Plain and simple routine.

© 2021 Michael T. Miyoshi

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