I used to write very consistently, every day. Of course, that was before I had a rewarding, but draining, job; this was also before I had anything closely resembling a life, as well. Now I have both, and the caveat to that, which in a million years I never would have foreseen, is that I don't do as much writing anymore. Sitting down and getting into a writing zone now takes more time than the actual writing itself used to. I just can't focus; I can't shut my mind down on my day, or things coming up, etc. and focus on what I need to write.
If you've read this blog for awhile, you saw entries on all of my ideas about viruses, vampires (of course; though in my defense, I started The Gravediggers in the mid-90s, before it actually became something that everyone and their brother wrote), concentration camps, WW2, and all of the other things I've mentioned as ideas. I have a million of them, and I start things, and then I get excited about something else, or my career rears its head, or I simply lose focus on writing in general--and everything just peters out. All of those great ideas, all of that energy and positive feeling...just...drift away.
Reading a lot used to help. Now, all of that reading time is all I've got for creative time, so all reading, no writing. Reading used to help writing--until about two years ago. Then a few months ago, I started taking pictures that tied into my writing, and that helped a lot...for a few months. Now that I've taken all the pictures I can take, that process is of little help now. These days, it's all photos, no writing.
Then, a few days ago, I realized that I hadn't written any poems in a long time. While I would never say I was a gifted poet--or even a good one--I can say that writing poems would focus me, ground me into whatever I was writing at the time. The poems themselves didn't have to correlate with whatever project I was working on at the time--though they sometimes did--but the very process of writing them apparently would hone my focus to such a degree that I was able to work on my longer creations. Somehow, as so often happens to hyper and unfocused people like me, I stopped doing that, got sidetracked, and never went back.
So now I will work on poems again, and although Frost and Dickinson don't need to worry about their posterity, maybe, just maybe, some present-day novelists should be looking over their shoulders and not ignoring the dustcloud that just kicked up a long, long way back, just ahead of the horizon behind them. Wish me luck, everyone, and if you have any tricks to help me along, I'll gladly listen.