“If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?” –Eihei Dōgen
I recently immersed myself in the craft of shaving with a nineteenth-century straight razor. It’s an interesting journey for sure, and the benefits are numerous. There are no more nicks and scratches, it saves money, it’s better for the environment (no waste besides soap and water!), I feel connected to the past, and it makes me feel downright manly. Most importantly, the intricate techniques involved force me to slow down and consider every delicate move I make. It certainly isn’t a process to be rushed; to achieve perfection and avoid giving myself a few extra smiles, I must set aside time each morning specifically for this enjoyable and meditative ritual.
Like using this venerable shaving method, learning to develop our writing talents requires setting time aside explicitly for the tasks at hand. Many writers have the tendency to procrastinate (including me!), and it can be difficult allocating time out of our day specifically for writing. Some of us even fall into the habit of needing the pressure in order to create something. However, if we start small- say, fifteen minutes each morning- learning to make writing part of our cluttered schedules will have immeasurable benefits to the craft and product. When your mind isn’t trying to simultaneously cook dinner, watch television, and worry about the doom of an impending deadline, you become absolutely free to generate ideas and improve your writing ability. Before you know it, you’ll be crafting mellifluous prose and penning one-liners sharp enough to make a razor blush.