Thursday, April 25, 2013

I Don't Write Every Day


I read a blog post the other day by Rachel Aaron about writing every day and the importance of enjoying what you write. I really loved the post and not just because I can totally get behind the notion of writing what you love. (That's a whole separate blog post that I'm sure I'll get to eventually.) I also loved it because slipped into the middle there, Ms. Aaron flat out admitted that she doesn't actually write every day.

Gasp!

I've done a lot of research over the years regarding the craft of writing and the business of publishing. (There is no better way to put off actual writing than reading a bunch of agents' Twitter feeds and calling it business research!) As a result, I am just full of random fluffy little bits of writing advice. We've discussed the one I hated most until I really figured it out. Another one that you hear all the time is this: if you want to be a serious writer, you must write every day.

You just have to. You must sit your butt down in the chair and put your fingers to the keyboard (or your pen to the paper if you're of that particular school) and make words flow every single day. Even if it's just ten measly words that you had to scrape out of the bottom of an otherwise empty brain pan, you must write something. Pretty much everyone will tell you this.

Writers write every day. It is known, Khaleesi.

I have issues with this particular bit of advice. For starters, I know a couple of writers. Not a ton of them, mind you, but a few. Not one of them actually writes every day. Writers are real people and there are other things that must be done. They have children to attend to, they have day jobs, they need to go to the grocery store, and clean their houses, and mow their lawns. There are family reunions to be suffered through and they are occasionally tapped as bridesmaids and forced to spend the entire day being photographed while wearing monstrous confections of chocolate brown satin and lime green tulle. They need time to take showers, and buy swimsuits and blue jeans, and go out on dates, and drink boxed wine and watch bad 80s television with the girls. In short, they have lives and no one, no matter how much passion they have for their work, works every day. At least, they probably shouldn't.

Also, the notion that you must write every day makes it sound like so much homework. It's not homework. It shouldn't be homework. I'm not fifteen and being forced to learn my Spanish verb conjugations so that I can get into a good college and become a well-educated adult. This notion that to be a real writer you must write every day makes me feel like I shouldn't have days where I just don't have time, and, if I do have those days, I'm clearly just a bored housewife with a hobby and not a "real" writer.

So no matter how much advice I eventually spew onto this blog, I'll probably never tell you to write every day. Because damn would I be the biggest hypocrite in the world at that point. I don't write every day. I try to write most days. Some weeks I even succeed at it. Some weeks I don't. I confess there have occasionally been weeks that have passed in their entirety without my sitting down at the keyboard even once.

Maybe if I don't write every day, I'll never get to the point where I can pound out 5000 words before breakfast and put out a dozen novels a year, but that doesn't mean I'm not taking this seriously. So, should you write as often as you can and be serious about it? Absolutely. Should you tell yourself you need to write every single day in order to be successful? I don't think so.

What about you? How do you feel about this notion that writers must write every day?

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