How Writers Write · In the Family · Writing Mentors

From Daily Grind to Daily Mind

In these days where many are still in quarantine, some might have forgotten the daily grind; others remember it all too well. As we work from home now, or more often, we don’t find ourselves missing the daily commute, the way lunchtime flies by, or the freezing A/C at the office. Sometimes writing can feel like a daily grind too, when we’re staring at a blank page for five minutes straight. What if it wasn’t all a daily grind though? What if we could sit down to write with our notebooks/laptops/typewriters and really develop a habit?

I’ve written on this blog before about developing a daily routine, my own struggles to schedule myself, and organizing your writing space. I’ve shared tips for fighting writer’s block, tapping into the creative “zone”, and more. Now, let’s pick up our zooms lens and tackle it from a different perspective:

“I have to pound away at a rock with a chisel and dig out a deep hole before I can locate the source of my creativity.”

Novelist Haruki Murakami

This quote by Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami struck me as both strict and sensitive at once. He words it so poetically and beautifully, but he also makes the daily routine of writing sound rigorous. We have to show up every day to create something beautiful out of rock; to chisel the ideas in our mind and hearts in order to finally step away, wave away the dust – and reveal a completed piece of art.

Novelist Haruki Murakami

I really enjoyed this article about Haruki Murakami’s daily routine. It shares how he went from a part-time to a full-time writer. He didn’t just develop a daily routine; he changed his entire lifestyle, ditching smoking, moving to a more rural location, and getting up and sleeping early. He also swims and runs marathons! Plus, he is a short story writer in addition to writing novels.

There is a certain honoring of one’s craft when one is willing to follow a daily routine carved around it. Murakami writes first thing in the morning if he is having a writing day, and if not, he gets up at the same time anyway. He calls it a meditation to follow the same daily routine, “mesmerizing”. By doing the same thing every day, he gets so deep into the groove of writing that it’s a part of him. It’s as natural and steady as brushing your teeth daily, or checking the mail. You don’t think about it. You don’t get arrested by worries. You just do it, and it’s natural and flowing. You mesmerize yourself.

Of course, it takes discipline. Murakami acknowledges that, as you’ll see in the article. He said it took mental and physical strength. It reminds me of when one of my spiritual mentors chastised me for not taking part in the early morning meditation on an international spiritual internship of sorts that I took. I told her, “I want to, but…” and she said, “You don’t want it enough.”

If we really want it, we’ll do it. Just like Murakami. Yes, life is crazy these days, there’s chores to do, a gigantic To-Do list, and sometimes you just need to rest. That’s ok, too. But if you really want to, you can make the time. Just like I’m making time to write this blog post. I feel tired and I’m already late by 2 days due to bad internet; I could have just waited until next week. But I wanted to share this, and I wanted to keep my commitment to blog weekly.

Of course, just because I’m here blogging, and Murakami gets up achingly early to write, doesn’t mean you have to blog weekly or get up early to write, etc. Do it your style! Make it your own! Maybe you like to stay up late into the night, pounding away at your keyboard keys, “typing madly”, as this blog is called. Maybe you have to drink hibiscus tea and listen to jazz before you sit down to write. Whatever it is, find your groove, like Murakami, and chisel away at that rock. You might surprise yourself with what you create!

I will be trying to find my own groove, as I strive towards a daily writing habit of my own. Wishing you the best in yours – let’s keep each other updated!

Until next time,

Chaitanya

2 thoughts on “From Daily Grind to Daily Mind

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