You have an inkling to be better, to get up earlier, so you set an alarm. When it blares in the early dark, still stuck in a dream your wife elbows you in the spine, and you lumber out of bed to brush the grimy sour from your lips. The coffee pot churns like a cranky beast. Your eyes pulse angry red. You stretch your creaking back out on the carpet, flip on the lights, take deep breaths. And when you finally sit down, hunker over the keyboard, awaken the laptop and stare at the screen, you’re confronted with an ugly fact. Now you finally have to type words, and they have to mean something.

That’s the conundrum I’ve been wrestling, lazily for the past year. Why I’ve neglected to write. The preparation, the sanctity of a writing routine isn’t feasible. It has to get squeezed into an already chaotic calendar. And then when I sit down to pound the keys, my mind wanders, forces out a subpar sentence, then pops open a dozen tabs of distraction.

Good writing is the ultimate exercise of being in the moment. Sure, there are the tales of auto-writing, and prolific novelists who’ve fired off entire novels blacked out drunk. But for me personally, the act of writing requires me to align the scattershot fireworks of my own brain into a single laser beam, illuminating single words as they flow sequentially. And that muscle has weakened, grown flabby. Which makes it most difficult to fire it up again, ad infinitum.

And so here I am. Seven am. Bleary eyed, sipping coffee, pecking at the keyboard. exercising muscles.

We’ll see if it becomes any sort of routine.

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