— Anne Tyler
Many beginning writers feel that they can only write when the spirit strikes them. They wait until they have the urge to write. Unfortunately, they will write very little because the spirit is often on vacation. Writers, artists and other creative leaders must develop the discipline and habit of working every day whether they are in the mood or not. Somedays what they produce will be great and on other days it will be terrible. The quality does not matter. Just like there are bad hair days and good hair days, there are bad creative days and good creative days. They will not always hit a home run or score the winning basket.
So what about you? Do you wait until the spirit strikes? Or are you up and at it every day? Do you have the self-discipline to create something every day? There is no boss looking over your shoulder or no parent coaxing you out of bed. You have to be the one to get yourself up writing, painting or dancing. No one can do it for you.
Experts say it takes 21 days to form a habit. So your assignment this week to choose a time every day when you will create. Then for the next 21 days spend that time creating. Begin now to form habits of a lifetime. You are responsible for the life you live.
Anne Tyler, the eldest of four children, was born in Minneapolis, MN. Her father was a chemist and her mother a social worker. Her youth was spent in several Quaker communities. She did not attend public school until she was eleven. She graduated from Duke University and did graduate work in Russian studies.
Tyler has published 19 novels. The first one, If Morning Ever Comes, was published in 1964. She won the Pulitzer Prize for her 11th novel Breathing Lessons.
Tyler rarely gives face-to-face interviews. In her first such interview in thirty-five years with Deirdre Donahue in 2012, she said: "I have to go to my writing room five days a week. I have to put in my time." Donahue states that Tyler writes in longhand on unlined paper.