"You Should Be Writing Every Day" and Other Things People Tell You About Writing and Discipline7:00 AM
But should you really be writing every? single? day? ?????
Writing advice. Everyone has some, and anyone who's written two or three paragraphs in the same document has the secret to being the world's top writer. You don't have to look far to find it; just turn to the ten billion articles or the gaping void full of Pinterest pins and you've got enough material to be searching through advice for the rest of your life. A lot of it contradicts other pieces of advice. A lot of it seems questionable, and a lot of it is. Writing isn't a set thing with hard and fast instructions, and as a result, it's hard to know if the advice you're getting is good advice or bad advice or if there is no writing advice whatsoever out there and you should just go with your advice. (Which, ironically, is advice some people will give you.)
"You should write every day," lots of people seem to say, no matter where you end up looking for advice. Sooner or later, you'll come across this piece of wisdom.
|"DO NOT QUESTION THIS FOOLPROOF ADVICE, AMATEUR"|
Usually, people who say you should write every day are using it as an argument for discipline. Sit yo butt in the chair, write the words, EVEN IF YOU DON'T FEEL LIKE IT, DANGIT! Essentially what they're saying is that it's valuable if you're serious about writing to make a point out of doing it daily, even when you don't feel like it, even when you have to squeeze it in between a thousand other things. It's a matter of training your brain. Inspiration and waiting around for your ever-missing "muse" is a bad idea, they'll say. A really bad and stupid idea, and one that you can't afford to entertain if you're serious about this writing thing. So it's important to establish routine and make sure you're putting something down on the page every, single, day.
On the other hand: there are people who will argue against this. Forcing yourself when you don't feel like it and it's miserable is a bad thing, they'll tell you. Some of us can't afford to write every day! Your mental health is more important than writing every day. Not writing every day doesn't make you any less of a writer.
I could go on and on.
"please don't," you say.
"So where do you stand on this most important of issues, Aimee? Do you think we should write every day?"
I don't write every day.
I wish I did, and that would be great. But I don't.
As much as it's valuable to make time for writing, and you have to be able to do it even when you don't feel like it...let's be real here. Sometimes, it just doesn't happen. Sometimes mental health is a genuine thing that gets in the way (and yes, that comes before any kind of writing 95% of the time.) Sometimes you have a busy day. Sometimes you're desperately sick and you don't need to push yourself. Sometimes family and friends happen and that's valuable, too. I don't think missing a day makes you some kind of writing failure. I don't think having days where you choose not to write in favor of something more important makes you any less of a dedicated writer.
I don't think the "you need to write every day" rule is as much of a literal rule as it is a principle, an idea, a point to be made about how we have to be dedicated to this words thing. None of us are perfect or stupid enough to write every single day, after all. You just can't do that. Unless you're insane. Then I guess you can do that, but I will not join you, and I hope you're okay, fren, because your poor wrists aren't.
This is turning into a ramble. Look how much I care.
We have to take writing seriously. We cannot always get the perfect writing environment, or have all the time we need to get into the mood of it. Sometimes we'll write in uncomfortable places. Sometimes we have to suck it up and just do the words even if we really don't want to. Sometimes that's just the truth of it. Writing can't always be nice and wanted and pleasant. So, yes. When I write every day it's easier for me to stay in the habit of it; in a way I'm keeping my writing muscles in practice and keeping it on my mind. Writing often, and making a point out of writing on a very regular basis, seems to be an invaluable thing even if it doesn't feel that way at the moment, even if it feels like stabbing yourself in the fingers with a toothpick.
I don't know.
Writing advice has value. If it's repeated by lots of writerly people, there's usually some truth to it. But it is not hard and fast, and it is not the absolute rule.
Do the thing that works for you. If you just can't write every day, perhaps don't. But if you need to challenge yourself, push yourself, make yourself level up and get some dedication and do the thing without waiting for inspiration...that's pretty great, too. No writer writes like you and knows your style. Your job is to figure out how to make these "guidlines" or whatever you might call them work for you.
Do you write every day? Do you think writers should make a point out of writing every day? How do you feel about common writing advice? talk to meeee.