On Keeping a Writing Habit

Morgan Library, NYC, 2021

Lately I have been thinking of lists. It is the tendency of the the ambitious and the put-upon to create lists of things of what is to be done, what can be put off, what must do immediately. Lists for shopping, for cleaning, for tasks at hand. Fix the ceiling, buy electric bulbs, call the vet. Essayists like Sei Shonagon and Montaigne used lists as well, as ways to order thoughts under a heading. Montaigne wrote under headings of friendship, sleep, friendship, books to attempt to organize his thoughts on a variety of subjects. Sei Shonagon in 990 Japan did the same in her Pillow Book, and her titles are captivating: Hateful things, Adorable Things, Things When I Make Myself Imagine. Using lists of subjects is a good way to create a writing practice. Each day, you can begin an exercise starting with the sentence, “Today, I see…” and record what you see. If it is the same view, what you will see will change with the season, and your mood. One day, you notice the sky, one day the trees. Soon, you will have 365 Observations.

2 thoughts on “On Keeping a Writing Habit

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.