So Angie Writes – Life's A Challenge, So Angie Writes!

So Angie Writes – Life's A Challenge, So Angie Writes!

Trauma Recovery – Shame Resilience – Self-Compassion – Coping With Chronic Pain

New Habit – On Writing

January 5, 2014 | 16 Comments

I’ve slipped into poetry like a nice gray cardigan. It’s soft and it accommodates me nicely. It is loose enough to slouch over the sharp bits, and that makes me feel safe. I can say things in poems that I wouldn’t just… say. The flow of words forms a gauzy filter, I think, and the pain in my words is less worrisome. Lately I find myself wanting to stretch a bit more than that cardigan allows, so I’m taking it off, and writing my narrative when I feel able.

Yesterday I woke in a dark space. You know, when you roll over, feet hit the cold floor, and there’s just this fog? My fog was full of static zings, and I realized I was having an endometriosis flare. It just wasn’t a good start to the day. I shuffled around a bit, with a creased brow and fisty hands. I didn’t rush to find any sort of solution. Eventually the time rolled around where coffee was needed, and with coffee comes my sturdy daily habit- writing.

Over three months ago I began a writing course. The first assignment was to think about goals, and I set one, and it was small.

“I will write 15 minutes, 5 times a week.”

I took a dusty, unworn journal from a shelf. It had been in my possession for years with its lovely ribbon bookmark, and pages edged in gold. The leather was stiff and it seemed to creak when opened. Steve had bought a set of pens the previous week; blue, green, purple, red, black, and pink. Pink! I scooped up that pink pen and I got to work.

The very first thing I wrote in that leather journal was “I am afraid.” Honestly? I still am. I’m afraid of failing. I’m so afraid of failing that I’m afraid of trying. It took a lot of courage to see my fear full in the face, and to extend my hand in an odd sort of companionship and say, “come along, Fear.”

Steve and I both read a lot of self help books. He had read one on habit over the Summer and as I lamented my fear of failure, my inability to instill new habits, he logically pointed out that I already live in a habitual way. That was true. We all live in habitual ways. We just don’t see it. It’s mindless. We get up a certain way. We get ready in a particular order. We react rather than respond. It’s habit!

I found my most recognizable habit to be coffee. Coffee is not an addiction for me, it’s a ritual. If I don’t have coffee, I don’t get headaches or feel foggy. If I miss coffee, I miss myself. I miss a centering experience. I miss this tug on my heart that is a string tying me to generations. Gramma and Mom having coffee. Gramma pouring me a bit with so much milk and sugar. Mom and I having coffee. Mom pouring a bit for my kids with so much milk and sugar. Connection. Sacred. Ritual. I will not skip my morning cuppa. I will not skip myself.

When I decided I needed to write, that I really, desperately wanted to write, I added ink and paper to my coffee, and I stirred.

The first week was tough. I wanted Crushed Candy with my coffee. I wanted to Tweet with it. I just kept redirecting myself back to my leather notebook and my pink pen. I reminded myself of what was important.

The mornings were still warm during that first month. I took my coffee and journal to the back porch. I’d pull the shade down on the swing to keep the sun off my eyes. I’d listen to the birds. I’d sip coffee. I’d write. After a time, perhaps just a matter of weeks, I’d reached the point where coffee and writing were inseparable. A few times I tried to see my coffee behind my journal’s back, and it just felt wrong. By golly, I’d formed a new habit!

These days I write in the mornings with coffee, and I write in the afternoons with water, and in the evenings with tea. My writing goal sat there, in pink ink, and I blew right past it. Now I write every single day for hours. I didn’t set a new goal. I just invited writing into my life and let it expand and fill up the empty spaces.

There are habits that I want to see in my life. I want to habitually hang up the clothes from the dryer, and stop living from baskets. I want to floss more often. There are definitely habits I want to get OUT of my life. I want to stop snapping right into Fight Or Flight when I miss an exit. I want to stop assuming it’s all my fault when things get a little sticky. I want to stop shucking off compliments. Habits are difficult to start, and even more difficult to stop.

I’m going easy on myself this year. I didn’t lay down any sort of goal or resolution. There were no lines drawn in sand. I don’t have a mark to measure up to. I did choose a guiding word for 2014- Adventure, and that is bringing some focus and intention to my days. I’m sure times will arise when I feel the spark of want again, and I’ll indeed set small goals to help me attain new skills and experiences. We’re organic creatures, and we are on our own schedules. I’ll remain open to the old habits that aren’t the best for me, and I’ll be on the lookout for the ways I can seek improvement. I will never give up the habit of writing. I am grateful that I was able to integrate this edifying practice into my life.


Are you in the mind to set a new habit? I have a few friends telling me they are starting writing practices! I want to let you know that you can do it. A writer isn’t something that you are or aren’t. Writing is just a practice. Is there something you already do every single day that you can do with a pen in your hand? Just start! XO

*Letโ€™s throw some words around! January Write Alm prompts are up! Respond as inspired!ย

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16 people are talking about “New Habit – On Writing

  1. Beautiful, beautiful post. Right now, I am where you were a few months ago. At the beginning of my writing journay. I have no idea where it will take me, I just know there are words in me that need to come out. I too have the same habit with my coffee too. My day isn’t complete without it. And since adding in my writing with it….it just fits. One of my goals this year is to start writing poetry but I need to get a little braver before doing that. I love reading your poems but right now I think this is my favorite post of yours so far!

    • Angie

      Jen! Thank you, my friend! Your words are a treasure and made me smile!

      “I just know there are words in me that need to come out.” <<< There it is! There is your beautiful voice! <3 Keep sharing it with yourself, and with others if so inclined! I am excited for your upcoming year of poetry! Bravery is an action word and you can do this! XO

  2. I cannot tell you enough how proud I am of you. This post was a giant leap forward for you, and it is beautiful. Your words paint pictures of every emotion so that we can actually feel each of them. Thank you for sharing.

    • Angie

      And I cannot thank you enough for showing up daily, reading my words, cheering me on in the comments and on the phone. <3 Also you're the one who inspired me to write and begin to draw. You modeled these things all my life. Thank you! <3

  3. I just sit here and chuckle and think back to you telling me, “I can’t set a goal. I always set one and end up failing.” And look! You didn’t. You’ve surpassed your goal. HUZZAH!

  4. I am so glad that I found your blog. This is only my second time at your site, but already I am drawn to your voice and writing, and so I believe one of my new habits for 2014 will be adding this as one of my daily blog stops. I also start my day with coffee, and it’s funny because just this AM (before reading your post) I put a photo on instagram that captured my morning ritual that seems to have evolved: coffee, vitamins, water and newspaper/blog reading. I cannot accomplish any meaningful work or writing before those are out of the way.

    • Angie

      Hi Kristen! Thank you for visiting and for commenting! I just took a stroll on your blog and enjoyed your words so much!

      I love coffee as a starting point. The days I have to skip it due to meds or labs, I find myself wandering around in a bit of a tizzy. Where to start? Where to start!!!??? ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I have always loved writing but never got into the habit of it but I am going to make sure I do! I loved reading this and found it very inspiring! My beverage of choice is tea but that doesn’t matter as long as there is writing with it! Jane

  6. Well, you are a genius! To marry a habit you want to a deeply-felt ritual you already have. This post is so helpful, seriously.

    So thank you, and bravo!

  7. Oh this is so wonderful! I am glad that I waited to read your post today when I had the time to sit and focus. Your words are so beautiful and poignant and poetic in their prose, if you know what I mean. It feels like your soul is alive and blessed. You are wonderful woman. Nice mug, by the way. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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