When in the writing community, there’s some common advice that every writer sees a million times:
“Show, don’t tell.”
“Said is dead.” Or, alternatively, “Said is not dead.”
And, of course, “Write every day!”
Really, you can take all of this advice with a grain of salt, but let’s focus on the write every day one.
…Do you really need to?
Answer: It depends. It depends on the person, the environment, their situation, etc., etc. There are people who can’t not write. If they don’t write every day, they feel weird and may feel like they slacked off or disappointed with themselves. Then there are people who absolutely can’t write unless their conditions are just right. The conditions could be as simple as having a cup of coffee with them to as complicated as having a cup of coffee and having all other work done and having the house clean and having all other members in the house asleep. Sometimes, it’ll be weeks or months before they’re writing again.
Obviously, writing every day is better, right? You get more writing done that way!
I tried out writing every day for over a year. It was great. I got a lot of writing done and some days, I wrote over ten thousand words.
…Others, I only wrote one. I didn’t feel so good those days.
There was about a week during that time when I just couldn’t write anything. I wrote down sentences that didn’t move the story forward because I wanted to keep my habit. But I was stuck and I would sit there for an hour, frustrated and staring at my computer. Eventually, I got out of it, but during that time, I felt like crap.
And don’t get me started when I missed my first day. When I first started college, I was adjusting to my new schedule and was busy trying to fit in school, work, and writing. That one day I thought “Did I write yesterday?” and had to answer with a “No”, I felt my heart drop.
I decided to not write for a while because I was just too busy. But when things started to slow down, I picked up writing again. Did I do it every day? Yes…to an extent.
Writing every day was nice for a while, but I don’t think it fits me. It’s way too much stress and I have too many things to do. So I stopped writing every day and started writing every day that I could.
Do I have an exam to take tomorrow? Maybe skip the writing and study for now.
Is today a big family event? Might do some typing on my phone.
Nothing to do today, but had a stressful week? Let’s relax for the day instead.
I can see why everybody gives the “write every day” advice. It gets a lot of writing done and I feel like it increased my creativity. But writing too much burns me out, so I take a day off if I need to.
How about you? Do you write every day or do you write whenever you feel like it? If you write every day, do you take breaks? Let me know in the comments!
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