One of the most persistent myths in the writing pantheon is that “serious” writers write every day.
Like many myths, this one contains a kernel of truth, namely that many writers do write every day. The rhythm and discipline of sitting down every day is important to some writers, and many of them believe so wholeheartedly in their own process that they elevate this to “requirement” status. They can’t imagine not writing every day, so it becomes an ironclad rule and some hector others as unserious.
I’ve said this several times before, but I still see this myth repeated so often I feel like it’s time to chime in again. You don’t have to write every day. You really don’t. I certainly don’t write every day.
I’m not a morning person, so I can’t wake up early to write in the mornings. And after a long day’s work, I’m usually too mentally exhausted to write. So I get my writing done on weekends.
Moreover, I find the breaks between writing times to be very beneficial. Those breaks are ideas times, when I’m letting my mind wander, making free associations, and planning what I’m going to write when the weekend comes. By the time I finally get back to the computer, I’m ready.
Does this mean I write more slowly? I don’t think so, actually. I wrote all three Jacob Wonderbar novels in 6-8 months. I just had to carve out quite a bit of time on the weekends.
Don’t let other writers shame your style. You don’t have to write every day. Unless you do. Whatever works for you. Just get the job done.
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Stanley Parko says
I don't think I agree. It's not about waking up very early or anything like that. It's more to get a habit for writing, to not feel like it's impossible to put something on paper. Of course if you already write regularly and have no trouble keeping up you don't need to get on such a schedule.
But to most people, at least in my experience, it's quite hard to get work done if they don't practice a lot. After all writing is sort of like sport in the sense that becoming good and staying good is often something you have to work on. (Maybe the difference is that in sports your abilities seem to decrease at a certain age and most writers really seem to excel when they reached an older age (thinking of the Tolstojs here.)
It took me a couple of years to find my owntechnique on how to write every day. To me it was all about eliminating the "being-forced-feeling" since that was something that got in my way all the time. Writing used to be fun, I thought to myself. So a big part of my daily practice is pretty much writing nonsense. Or commenting on stuff, writing e-mails or letters to friends.
I guess I envy you bunch a lot. Since writing still is a struggle for me and you seem to have figured that out somehow.
Carol Graham says
Bottom line — like you said……get the job done!