Something amazing happened a couple of hours after I woke up today.
I had breakfast.
I had an egg white scramble with spiced asparagus and cheddar cheese, and served it with a couple of slices of toast. I suppose what made it so amazing was that yesterday, at around the same time, I had breakfast, too. That time I went a little carbohydrate crazy, because I had some oatmeal and toast.
The day before that? You guessed it. Breakfast. I attend a Meetup one morning a week at Panera, and they just added an avocado and spinach egg white sandwich to their menu. I therefore ordered that avocado and spinach egg white sandwich and proceeded to eat it.
This pattern seemed remarkable to me, in that after every morning that I wake up I have an inevitable need to put food in my body. That process also repeats itself several other times for these things called “lunch” and “dinner.” It’s really quite remarkable.
But, I have noticed another development in my life as well. Though I have set a goal for myself to tell a story through the lens of fiction, I have about as opposite of a reaction to doing so as I do to having breakfast. While eating egg whites and oatmeal seems to be something that I want for myself every morning, thrusting myself through the uncertainty of composing fiction is something I absolutely don’t want for myself. I don’t want to spend whole periods of my day staring off into space wondering why on earth I’ve decided to create a world that doesn’t actually exist. I don’t want to agonize over all of my life choices because I can’t figure out why a character can’t find out a basic piece of information out about himself in the first ten pages of the story.
Uncertainty and agony are, quite simply, a reality of creative writing. It happens to most of us, and always will. This makes it difficult to sit down every day and write something. It’s like showing up for a baseball game even though you know your team is going to lose—a feeling that shows up ALMOST EVERY SINGLE DAY. And yet, it’s still something that must happen if the world is to continue getting new stories to enjoy.
This is why I’ve placed my writing time right next to my breakfast time each morning. If having egg whites and oatmeal is going to happen every day regardless, then it helps me to force myself to sit down and do an hour of writing before I get to eat those things. When we program ourselves to explore the most daunting aspects of our creativity alongside our satisfaction of our daily needs, creating will become a daily need as well.
It can therefore help to write or do other creative things right before or after every breakfast, lunch, or dinner so as to know that as sure as you have to eat, you also have to create.