Through Facebook, I came across this article that talks about not writing everyday. Click HERE to read the blog; it’s a good read and should be read by all aspiring writers, and even some that have already aspired.
To further show that one-size fits all does not apply, I raise my hand in the not writing every day roll call.
I don’t. I can’t. I write because I have to, but I don’t write everyday. I write in spurts, sometimes easily clearing 5,000 words in one sitting and others a measly few hundred. But no matter how much, it’s in spurts.
In between those times of writing, the story percolates in my mind. This percolating is an essential part of my writing process. Even in the story I have plotted out, in order to get the scenes right, I have let it sit for while and simmer. When the way it’s supposed to be clicks into place, the need to write becomes unbearable and that is when I will sit down and feverishly type away like a mad woman for hours.
Also, like the guy in the article, I’m a living human being. Not a writing robot. I have three children, pets, gardens, and a husband. I’ve heard the, “If your serious about being a writer then you make the time just like you would if you were punching a time clock.”
Um…yeah, I suppose, but then I lose all of the benefits of working for me. Of setting my hours. Of doing things my way, the way they work best for me. I no longer have to punch a time clock. I did that for years when my oldest boys were little and dammit I refuse to miss out on anymore than I absolutely have to of their lives. So that means writing takes a backseat sometimes to game playing with my kids, to trips to go see things, and even cooking dinner (because for some reason my kids think I should feed them). This summer it took a backseat to the garden. I spent hours in an overheated kitchen canning the tons of produce coming in from the garden and quite frankly when it finally wound down at night (usually pretty late), I was hot, exhausted, and ready to just sit down to something that didn’t require my brain to work too hard.
I can’t set word counts either. I tried that with Nano and failed spectacularly. Watching the word count stifled my creativity in the same way watching the clock makes time move slower.
So no, I don’t write everyday. In fact this summer I didn’t write for almost six weeks and I didn’t feel guilty about it because that was just the way life was at that time. I don’t set word counts for myself (though I do check to see how many I’ve written before I close out my document when I do write), and I try not impose deadlines.
Does this mean I’m not a “real” writer and I’m not taking this seriously? No, it means I’ve settled into what works for me. If that makes me a slow writer, well better slow than not at all. Since I have four full length novels (three of those a completed epic fantasy trilogy), two shorts in anthologies (possibly another coming out this winter), one short that stands alone and a children’s book already published and out, and another full length nearly completed, I’m pretty sure I don’t have trouble finishing the things I start. I suppose people can think whatever they wish of me, can look down their noses at me and think, “Obviously, not serious writer.” That’s okay with me.
Because when it comes down to it, what other people think of my writing routine, or perhaps lack thereof, means nothing. How I think of it and how I feel about it, are the only things that matter and I’m quite content with them because they work for me.
So if you are an aspiring writer who asks me for a piece of advice, “write everyday” is not going to be that advice. I will tell you to just write. And that means in whatever way works best for you. If you prefer to only write on Saturdays while standing on your head, then kudos to you for finding what works (and for being able to pull that off).
If you are already a writer who is struggling with the “write everyday” advice, then stop struggling with it and settle into the rhythm that suits you, your family, and your schedule the best.
I hope this all makes sense. It’s a little late here and I maybe rambling a bit, but my brain wouldn’t shut up about it until I typed it out.