The human heart has a natural rhythm. You don’t think about it beating. You can’t will it to stop, and at the end you can’t will it to restart. This rhythm is different for each person. When you meditate and pray, or relax in your own way, this rhythm is altered. There are breathing exercises that help manage things like anxiety and panic attacks that cause the heart to flutter like a frightened bird.
This is not the only part of human life that follows a rhythm. There is our sleep cycle. The body needs between 6 to 10 hours of sleep, again based on the individual, to really thrive. If you go without sleep, you will feel it the next day or after a couple of days depending on your strength. Your body will ask for it.
So, how does this relate to writing? First, inside the poems and prose there exists rhythm. As you read a poem, each line has a rhythm to it especially when followed by another line. When you read the poem, and you are satisfied with this rhythm, you will find yourself liking the poem. Contemporary poetry tends to work on a type of chaotic rhythmic structures where the cadences are not so easy to discern.
The rhythm in writing as a procedural consideration is elemental to success. Poets like Limón say that they don’t write every day. Other writers, like Cameron swear that the key to writing well is to establish a pattern and stick to it. Cameron says that once you decide that you will write every day, you simply get up and write. Limón follows her own pattern. The writing pattern that you choose depends on you and your situation. I know that if I don’t write for a couple of days, I find it difficult to get started once I do sit down to write.
In this blog, I have set up a schedule and just write according to that schedule. It frees me because I just know that every day, there is a post to write. I notice other writers on WordPress write twice a week and others do it when inspiration combines with opportunity. The point is that know your own rhythm and don’t, under any circumstances, try to copy someone else’s rhythm. You are the artist and that sort of thing is between you and your muse.
My muse is named Wanda and she likes me to devote a lot of time to reading and responding. It was a while before I have my muse a name, but Wanda is such a lovely, watery and humble name. I just love it. I think that the name conjures up images of a friend who shared my life with me once. I carry her memory, and it inspires me to write.
After you establish your own writing rhythm, you will work those writing muscles by working at it. Every writing session, you will strengthen your writing muscles until you can do some heavy lifting, like write a novel.
Anyone who has any experience with body building or sculpting will tell you that consistency is the main ingredient in the recipe for fitness. So, just get to know your rhythm and be consistent. Consistency means repetition. If you repeat, you won’t face defeat.