I have been a writer for many years, have attended several writing conferences and have read and/or reviewed dozens of books on writing.
There are many rules and suggestions for the writing life, like show, don’t tell; limit purple prose; write snappy dialogue, avoid adverbs, no head hopping (point of view changes without clues). Then there’s the one I rarely follow.
What’s the rule that I don’t follow? Here’s my confession:
I don’t write every day. There, it’s out. (Wipes brow with back of hand.) Now I can sleep better at night and my inner being is lighter, freer. In my crazy life, I don’t always get to the keyboard. I would like to, but it is very difficult. Does that mean a writer should give up if they know they can’t get to their writing every day? Goodness, no!
Every book or article, or even blog post is made up of very small pieces, we call words. They are like pennies and we all know what happens to pennies–they add up to dollars. And in the same way, words add up to paragraphs, and then to pages and on to chapters and books.
Because I can’t write every day, I block out most Tuesday afternoons, and Thursday and Saturday mornings because those are my set writing times. I work hard on keeping those slots open for just that purpose. And because I can do that, I now have blog posts, chapters and books.
I may write an email, or a grocery list, or some other type of writing each day, but that’s not the type of writing I’m talking about. If I counted all those types of writing, then maybe I could say I write every day, but I don’t count those.
So, please don’t put yourself down if you can’t say you write every day, either. Remember, that whatever you do write, it will eventually become a full piece, whether a scene or a poem or a chapter, which then gives you work to edit and improve.
What about you? If you’re a writer, do you write every day?
Take heart and write whenever you can!
I don’t write every day, but the goals I set myself allow for that. I know realistically how much I can achieve in a week, and that’s what I aim for. And if I don’t get there, then that’s okay, too. I am constantly reminding myself that writing is meant to be fun and not a chore. I find that on days I don’t actually write, I am still thinking about my novel and have to keep jotting down notes so that I don’t forget the thoughts that pop into my head.
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Kristah, I like your perspective of writing being fun and not a chore; that’s something I sometimes forget. Thanks for sharing that with us!
“Wipes brow with back of hand”…love it! My writing is undisciplined and erratic (if I have a deadline, I can write seven days a week.) I try to write at least three times a week, but if someone calls and invites me to lunch—well, who can say “no” to lunch? 🙂
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Deadlines can be a good thing! And we all have to eat lunch 🙂