Do I Need to Write Everyday?
Even the best-intentioned writers will give not-so-great advice. The one I hear often is on the subject of writing and whether or not it should happen daily? The short answer is, no, it doesn’t need to happen every single day.
If you’re looking for a much longer and more in-depth answer, read on young squire, read on.
Consider the 9 - 5 job where an employee loves what they do. Even they get weekends off and take a vacation or sick leave. Why? Because we all need to refuel and recharge so we can get back at it again.
Never is that more true for a writer. And I have two excellent reasons why. The first one is pretty obvious but I think many of us forget this reason and all too often neglect it. The other is one I cooked up on the fly but it works too.
The best writers write from a place of experience. You have to live life in order to know what it’s like. Not just for you but for your characters. It’s helpful to get out into the real world every once in a while and observe other people. See how they interact with each other. How they talk to each other. That’s not to say you shouldn’t write about space aliens from the planet Floo because you’ve never been there to experience what it’s like. But the idea is to just let your mind use all its senses and take in your surroundings. It will help you more than you know. So, take a day off and walk around. See the sights (if you have any). And if you don’t have any sights, then just go to a park, museum, hiking. Do something that stimulates your brain and isn’t an activity that keeps you cooped up all day. I find when I want to take a day off from writing but I’m spending the day inside my house (the place where I write) I can end up feeling guilty. Like I’m laying about doing “nothing” when I could/should be writing. If you are like me, then the only solution is to either have another hobby or get out of the damn house!
READ, READ, READ
There is no better way to improve your writing, short of maybe taking a course in writing (but that can be more costly and not always helpful) than to read as often as possible. Now, I know I just said to get out your damn house if you’re like me and can easily feel guilted into writing. But the caveat is having a hobby outside of writing. What better hobby to have than reading? And I don’t just mean reading within your genre either. Read outside of it. Read articles about writing. Crack into the books on your shelves that you purchased with every intention to read them but just seem to “never have the time.” Well, you’ve got it now. Take one or two days a week and instead of spending what time you allot to writing, do some reading instead. It’s just as important to read as it is to write and you can’t feel guilty about that. You can even take a book with you when you get out of the damn house! HA!
In short, thinking you need to write daily, even when famous writers will tell you they don’t write every day, is silly. Not only do they not write every day, on days they do write it’s usually not all day. Some of us are morning people and others are evening people. Find out the best time of day you get your best writing done and if it’s just two hours in the morning before lunchtime, then set aside that time to do your writing. But remember, not every day, and not all day. Writing and ideas aren’t something you can (or should) force to happen every day or all day. That can cause you to resent writing and never want to do it again. It can go from being something you love to be a chore or a job you hate.
The idea is to do what you love when you want. We are conditioned to treat any money-making thing like a job that must be done five days a week all day. That’s not how it should be. That is a recipe for burnout and disaster. If you are writing because you love it, then take your time with it, do it when the mood strikes, and over time you’ll find yourself in a habit of writing the same time on those particular days you designate as writing days.
Habits are always better to have than heartaches. And that’s the end of my corny lines for this post…
Let me know in the comments:
Do you write every day? Yes? No? Why?
I get a lot of inspiration for work, the people I’m around, and simply getting to daydream. My breaks are built in so I can’t write everyday.
I do like prompts to spur some ideas for off the way compositions though and have one in the works. It’s good to step away and take the world in. Even writers need to unplug.
I participate in the #vss365 daily writing prompt on Twitter, combined with picture prompts I get from an app I have done this every day for several months, almost a year in fact. It gives me a daily sense of achievement even if I do nothing else, exercises my writing muscle and is relatively testing yet easy enough to complete whatever else the day brings. I also journal daily, and have done for around 6 years.