Write Or Die

Pedro Hoffmeister
3 min readAug 3, 2022

Well, either way you’ll die, so maybe trade some time?

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Making art is difficult. It takes time, and the beginnings of things aren’t pretty. For example, painting for three hours a night after work so you can potentially have a mediocre painting in a few days isn’t an inspiring process. The same is true for beginning to draw, create collages, or sculpt.

And if you think of writing as art—as most people do—the process is just as daunting. Write for two hours before work, then be exhausted all day? Or write after work and the same will still be true?

But what’s the other option? Not writing poems or essays or short stories or novels? If you’re truly compelled to create, that is, if you know that creativity is meaningful for your soul, then the choice is simple:

Write and then die.

Or just die.

Either way, this game is going to end. There’s a finite amount of time to live on this earth. The only question is whether you’ll make something meaningful and lasting before you meet that end.

So where to begin? Perhaps it’s not as daunting as people make it. Humans have always been able to find easy distractions, and our current culture is as distractible as ever. Instagram, snapchat, Facebook, and TikTok are easy time sucks. So are Netflix and AppleTV. Everywhere you turn, there’s a digital distraction available.

BUT…that means you can trade time. Since we already waste vast chunks of time consuming art or video or text online, mark on your calendar which days are internet/phone free evenings or mornings. And be realistic at the start. Pick three days a week for creation, and leave the other four open for whatever you normally do. And even on the creation days, simply set aside an hour or two in the morning or evening. Don’t be too ambitious.

Be realistic.

After a few weeks of this, you’ll probably realize how much better you feel on creation days, and then you can bump those days up to four or five per week.

Second, keep your creativity sessions short. You don’t have to paint for three hours a day to be a painter. Three hours a day is probably a quick way to be immersive and improve, but it also might not be an attainable…

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Pedro Hoffmeister

Author with Random House. TBI survivor who struggles. Poet. Climber. Former Writer-In-Residence of Joshua Tree National Park. Podcast: “Boring Is A Swear Word”