A Reflection on Consistency

Ashia Monet
5 min readOct 7, 2022
“For writers.” Veronika Glushkova, 2017.

These past few months, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about consistency.

If you’ve known me in any capacity in the past year, you know that I’ve had a year from hell. Grief has been the central, recurring theme. I lost so many things: an apartment, a job, a family member to cancer (the second one I’ve lost, total, to cancer).

I lost the person I used to be. I lost the person I could’ve been, had I not endured these traumas — and that, too, is a sort of grief.

I gained a lot too. Some of those things (among many others) include a tattoo, a piercing, a stronger trust in my community and support system, a love for cooking (especially breakfast foods). But the one I want to talk about today is my newfound understanding of consistency.

“Write often, write consistently.” This is one of the most oft-repeated bits of writing advice. Here’s the truth, my truth: I’ve never had a writing schedule. I dread people asking me about my schedule because I never have anything substantial to tell them.

You’d think a lack of schedule would lead to an awful lot of nothing happening. And yet I finished no less than three novels during my time in undergrad. THE BLACK VEINS was self-published by the end of my freshman year. A shelved project took up those middle two years, and I closed out senior year with a 3.8 GPA, a B.A in psychology, and a draft of IN A BED OF BLOOD that would land me my agent after a month of querying.

But to call 2022 a terrible year would be an understatement. I don’t think I wrote a single goddamn thing after my aunt passed. I remember visiting a friend in Massachusetts, sitting by the ocean, and suddenly bursting into tears. The moonlight danced on the water, serene, as I sobbed.

That’s all spring looks like in my mind’s eye. I don’t remember much else. And yet I stand before you with a new book that’s a sneeze away from being finished.

This new book — lovingly nicknamed DEADBIBLE by a dear friend — started as my 2021 NaNoWriMo project. My experience with NaNo is actually a perfect metaphor for my “schedule” as a writer. In the first few days, I wrote staggering amounts: 4,500 words on the first day, 7,000 on the second, 6,000 the next.

But for the next four days, I didn’t touch the manuscript at all. It wasn’t because I forgot about it. I think I looked at the Word document and actively chose to disregard it. Somehow, despite this, I still won NaNo. I reached the coveted 50k words on November 23rd 2021. (Yes, that is correct. I finished with days to spare.)

Consistency, for me, doesn’t look like showing up every day. If that were a requirement of the profession, I wouldn’t be a writer. I don’t think I’ve done anything consistently for longer than a week. Personally, I blame it on not having a single earth placement in my chart.

What I am good at is getting back up after I fall. What I am good at, I found this year, is being reborn.

I am consistently inconsistent. I may work on something for a week and two days, but come that third day I never want to look at it again. Four months later, I will remember it exists and dive in with fresh passion.

If I forced myself to fit the ideal definition of consistency, I would actually be far less productive than I am now. Instead, I don’t waste time berating myself for losing interest in a project. I know I will always, always come back. And I will keep returning, over, and over, and over, and over. Eventually, this stubborn determination culminates in a finished novel.

I am at my happiest when I spend all weekend socializing with friends, meeting new people, adventuring through city streets. I’ll be buzzing from too much iced coffee or too many overpriced cocktails, but suddenly — on the train, or in the Uber, or back at home sprawled on my bed — I’ll remember that I’m a writer. Then I vomit about 8k words a day until I forget again. And the cycle continues.

My consistency manifests in the fact that I keep showing up. After I lapse, after I fail, I always, always come back. Clearly, this doesn’t make me the fastest writer. But the books will be written. And considering most of the world struggles to finish a single page, I’d say it works pretty damn well.

(I am somehow good at deadlines — the public accountability and the threat of throwing off someone else’s schedule brings something out of me, I suppose.)

I am a huge advocate for taking what advice works for you and leaving — or adapting — the rest. I have tried to be a “write every day” girl. I have tried to plan, to be relentless, to force myself to be productive. But productivity is a product of capitalism. And it’s 2022 — stanning capitalism went out of style like, forever ago.

Maybe consistency, for you, means that you need to be consistently inconsistent. If you have trouble forcing yourself to show up every day, try stepping back. Try wandering away and seeing if you come back.

Because maybe someday you’ll come home from a second date and realize you feel like yourself again. More importantly, you feel alive again. And then you’ll remember that you have a book you’d like to finish. You’ll accidentally ghost your friends for the weekend. You’ll lock yourself in your bedroom with a Spotify playlist on repeat and some apple crisp macchiatos.

And hey, there’s book two. Four? Five? There’s been so many books you no longer even bother to count. Anyway, you’ve survived the worst year of your life and all you got was this new book to show for it. And somehow, despite it all, that’s enough.

That’s just enough.

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Ashia Monet

Ashia Monet is a speculative fiction novelist. Her debut novel THE BLACK VEINS is available now. Follow her on Twitter @ashiamonet + Instagram @ashiawrites