Stoicism vs Writer’s Block

It feels good to be home after spending a weekend with friends. One of the things that makes coming home feel so good is getting back into my routine. I know I talk a lot about routines here, but that’s only because I think it’s important. Fortunately I’m in pretty good company in that regard.

Recently I stumbled across a pretty interesting website called The Daily Stoic and read a great article tying classical stoicism to writing and more specifically dealing with writer’s block.

The Stoics were writers. Real writers, too. Marcus Aurelius was such a brilliant writer that his private journal has survived and become one of the most beloved philosophy texts in history. In his own time, Seneca was considered one of Rome’s great playwrights, and was popular enough that a line from his play Agamemnon is actually preserved in graffiti on a two-thousand-year-old wall at Pompeii.

The key to their prolific writing should come as no surprise; strong habits and routines are essential to a successful writing life. It always seems self-evident to say, but that doesn’t make it less true.

As the author of the article points out, a strong writing routine keeps you from both feeling hopeless in the face of writer’s block (you’re going to keep writing anyway) and keeping you productive (you’re going to keep writing anyway). The article’s conclusion is not just great writing advice, but great life advice:

Being disciplined and establishing a routine can help you beat writer’s block, but the bigger lesson is this: Creating a habit and a routine is true for just about any profession and any desire to live a better life. Routine and habit are the only way to do it. You can’t just randomly improve. You don’t do great work or make great decisions on accident—not, by definition, with regularity anyway.

Routine is everything. In writing, philosophy and in life.

Keep writing regularly and all you can do is improve.

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