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The “C” word that keeps me writing

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 HANNAH

I'm a writer, author, and online educator who loves helping others build intentional lives through the power of habit and meaningful routines.

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When you start writing, you will encounter so many people in your daily life who want to become writers. They’ll have a romantic idea of what you do. They will tell you about the book living in the confines of their heart. I cannot even count the number of people who have wanted to sit and have coffee with me to talk about writing.

Now don’t read my heart wrong, I want people to become writers. Absolutely. I think writing is the most life-giving practice I’ve ever come across. It is when I feel the closest to God and the most at peace with my presence in this world. It has always been that way since I was six years old. But the truth is a grim one: most people won’t become writers in their lifetime. And that’s not because it’s not a viable career path. It isn’t because people don’t have it within them. It’s just that people like the idea of writing and they will give more to that idea than they ever will to the process of actually sitting down to write.

People like the idea of “being fit” more than they like the act of working out.

People like the idea of “having more energy” more than they like chopping vegetables and steering clear of fast-food restaurants.

People like the idea of “being a writer” more than they like sitting their rears in the chair and tapping out crappy words until the gold arrives.

The scary thing is that we live in an age where you can talk loudly about things you plan to do and then never execute them. Accountability feels like it is at an all-time low and social media has this alluring appeal of making us all look better than we really are with filters and captions and good lighting. I think the danger of social media is that we get so entranced with what everyone else is doing that we neglect the hours it takes to hone our crafts and put our own gifts out into the world.

I learned a lesson, about 5 years ago, that changed everything about the way I write and how I approach my life as a writer.

That word is Consistency. It’s the one word I would slide across the table if you and I were sitting down to have coffee together.

Before this word, I was a writer by way of inspiration. I was a “tortured artist.” I would write when and if I was inspired. I would drive around the backroads of my hometown waiting on that perfect first sentence to arrive. I thought writing something you had to be inspired to do. It had to hit you. I treated writing like it was a virus, that I had to wait to catch it before I could actually get down to business.

Sometimes I do wish I could get those wasted hours back. All the time I thought the “words were coming” when really I was just resisting the necessary process of a real writer.

Consistency means that you pick a time and a place to sit down and you mark it on your calendar.

Consistency means that you honor that time you placed on the calendar, even when happy hours or better plans arise.

Consistency means that you sit there and you write all your bad words and you don’t criticize them or belittle yourself as you go.

Consistency means you keep showing up even when you feel like nothing is moving and the results are not tangible.

Consistency means you commit to the process of writing because you love it and because you cannot live without it and because it makes you feel like yourself and because it is essential to you.

Of course, you are going to fail. You will get off course. You will miss a day or a week. Sometimes you will even miss a few weeks in a row and that will be just enough shame juice to make you want to give up entirely.

Don’t.

Please don’t.

Every new habit or practice takes time and repetition. It takes grace. It takes stumbling and falling and rerouting. You need all of these things to turn the mess into a masterpiece.

If you want to be a writer then this is what I want for you: a life full of words. A life where you spend time trying to articulate the things other people have failed to say. I want you to be so inspired by the conversations you have and the people you encounter that you feel you have no choice but to come back to the page at the end of the day.

As romantic as that all sounds, it takes a very unromantic word to make it a reality: consistency.

Good writers are made through every slashed sentence and mediocre paragraph. Good writers are made through every story jogged down in a notebook and every experience mined for deeper meaning. Good writers are made in rooms where the door is shut and the phone is on airplane mode. Good writers are made when they stop talking about the craft and they pour themselves out into the craft like their dear little life depends upon it.

Just start showing up.

And keep showing up.

Progress will be slow at first but you’ll back one day on all the crappy sentences and vacant word documents and you will know— in the deepest part of you— that the transformation into a writer has taken place.

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Hi, I'm Hannah

I love writing about all things faith, mental health, discipline + and motherhood. Let's be penpals!

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