Consistent work

If writing is your gift, then write. Consider it your job. This project you’re working on is the bit of world that you’re holding in place for the rest of us. Your writing is your burden, your joy, your day-to-day time consumer. Figure out how to get it done. Work with your schedule until you manage to do the writing that’s necessary. Write whether you feel like it or not – inspiration is the side-effect of sitting in front of that computer screen and typing. An artist doesn’t wait for inspiration but generates inspiration through sheer work.

To do the work that needs to be done, you will spend your life negotiating schedules and day jobs and housework and childcare. You will fight every year for some retreat time that you need to prime the pump and feed your creativity. You will learn how to write in all kinds of weather, during various times of day and night, with people and noise around and in total solitude and quiet. For a while, maybe you’ll write at the coffee shop. But that won’t work forever so then you’ll write in the spare bedroom or at the kitchen table. You’ll keep figuring out how to get the work done. Figuring it out is simply part of the work.

The same is true for spiritual work. I’ve never held the same prayer practice for more than a few weeks, if that long. So I just keep changing the practice and keep working at consistency. There was a time when I drove a car to work, and so my praying happened then. There have been weeks at a time when my best prayer happened on a crowded commuter train. I’m not happy with how difficult it is for me to be consistent. But I keep trying and figuring it out. I edit spirituality writers, and I do some writing, too, so giving up on my Christian practices is not an option. They may change and develop; some things stop working, so I shift to other things. But I keep going. 

from “The Art of Spiritual Writing” by Vinita Hampton Wright