Writing was like a home for me. It made me feel heard and safe. I wrote for academic, professional and personal reasons. I wrote researched articles, letters and journals. Anything could trigger me to write- a conversation, a newspaper article, a book.
Then I began to work full-time in a private organization. My job profile was supposed to involve a lot more writing, reading than I had been doing till then. But it turned out to be the opposite. I felt compelled to prove myself at doing stuff that weren’t related to writing.
When you try to prove yourself, you are already at a disadvantage. You want to work more efficiently, which also means at a faster pace than you are comfortable with. You don’t give yourself enough time to prepare and to reason your actions. You are just running in a certain direction, which after a point is not of your choice because you didn’t stop to choose. You are just trying to pick up speed.
Your heart is racing with excitement and anxiety. Suddenly time seems to be leaving you far too quickly. This excitment remains with you even after work when you mind is still involved in all kinds of permutations and combinations to get something done faster and better.
During the breaks that my mind is forced to take, I want to write but I find myself unable to put even one word on paper. I struggle. Struggle really hard to write after office hours. I try to get into a writing routine and support it with a reading routine. But none of these routines work out for me. I read for a few days, engage in bingewriting but that is it.
What I am missing here is that writing cannot happen with you heart racing as if you are running to catch a speedy train. Writing comes to you when you mind, hand and heart are in sync with each other, matching their paces. When your entire self begins to follow its own pace, its rhythm. Sometimes, you become aware of it. This awareness more often comes when you are well into writing, you know you are in the zone. The zone is that space where you work at your natural pace.
This doesn’t mean that your heart wouldn’t beat faster when you are trying to articulate something that you feel is leaving you forever. But that urgency in the heartbeat is not too far away from your pace. It will return to its natural pace sooner than expected.
So, if you are also struggling like me to write in the after office hours, then remember writing requires a calm mind and a steady hand that could be brought together into a rhythm to create a melody of your own.
And a little tip, a consistent reading habit after office hours definitely helps you to calm your mind and listen to the rhythm of your heart.