All through school, college, and into the professional world, we have deadlines. That ever looming due date forcing us to be productive even when we’d rather not. They can be great things and they can be horrible, taking the fun from every project and every day. But, unfortunately, we can all agree they’re certainly useful. If we know we have a deadline then we push for it. We try to make it. If it’s a race, we want to win it.
Simple. But what about when we don’t have a deadline? Then we’re free to take our time, get it right, go back and enjoy the process. But it takes forever. So many of our hobby projects don’t get finished precisely because we don’t have a deadline. It turns our hobby into something we can get back to later, rather than something we need to finish. If we’re lucky our passion for our hobby is big enough that it pushes us to finish, but even the most passionate person takes a break, has other things to do, something gets in the way, etc…
Recently I’ve come to realize there is a third option. One I didn’t recognize for what it was at first. I’m trying to get my writing to the point where it’s just something I do. Most people just read, or watch TV, without thinking about it. It’s just something they do. For a lot of people that can also be running, or fitness, for some its cooking, etc. It’s more than a hobby. It’s more than an activity. It’s just what you do.
Getting to that point consciously is a pain, but letting yourself get there is easy. The trick, as far as I’ve found thus far, is to indulge the urge. If I have a great scene or a great character idea pop into my head, I’ll write it down and run with it. My phone has a great note taking app so I use that if I’m not at home, or I can grab a piece of paper anywhere. Even if I don’t have time to completely indulge in the idea as far as i’d like I can at least get a couple things down so I don’t lose the idea later. Maybe it’ll never amount to anything useful. Never know.
With luck, one of these days I won’t be a writer. It’ll just be something I do.