Don’t Write Every Day!

Dear Reader,

I’ve told you to write every day. I was wrong to tell you that.

I’m not going back on my word entirely as I do feel we need to be practicing our craft as often as we can. Taking my own experience as an example, however, I’ve found that this undue pressure we put on ourselves to write every day and come up with brilliant words every time we put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) is often what causes my dreaded “writer’s block.”

So what am I saying?

Maybe writers don’t need to write every day

Writing for writers is important. For me, it’s like breathing. Most times, I breathe normally, but sometimes I hyperventilate, and sometimes I feel like I’m being strangled. Those are the days when my writer’s block is the worst, and last night while I had trouble falling asleep I tried to figure this one out.

Is writer’s block really a block, or just frustration?

When I feel drained of words, I turn to reading. I pick up the nearest book and read at least a chapter. This seems to shift my metaphorical writing cup from half-empty to half-full. My imagination is sparked, and I begin asking my favorite question: What if?

The next thing I know, I’ve written a couple hundred words and hey, they aren’t even that bad.

So what am I saying? Maybe it isn’t important for writers to write every day. But it is important that writers do something related to writing every day. See the difference?

There is more to writing than the act of it

When I was learning violin in elementary school, it wasn’t enough to learn where to put my fingers on the fingerboard, or how to hold the bow, or how to read music. I needed to listen to existing musicians. I needed to watch their movements and mimic them until I became comfortable enough with the tools at hand to create my own movements. I mimicked until I was comfortable enough to create.

I am not saying to plagiarize. Good God I’m not saying that. I am saying that if you take time to read books, magazines, anything, to refill your cup (or bowl) of imagination, you are more likely to write because you won’t be burned out.

So on the days you feel like you can’t write, or don’t want to write, pick up a book and know you’re still making progress. Other things you can do that are related to writing include:

  1. Read what you’ve written previously
  2. Edit what you’ve written previously
  3. Draw a mind map of your story
  4. Draw a sketch of your main character
  5. Make a collage relating to your book
  6. Find music which inspires you to write
  7. Make an exercise routine tailored to your main character, and then do the exercises
  8. Buy your character’s favorite food from the grocery store and eat it

Take a note from Dory in Finding Nemo. What does she tell us? To just keep swimming.

What did we learn from Meet the Robinsons? Keep moving forward.

And finally, what have we learned about Belinda? She watches a lot of Disney movies.

All the best,

Belinda

7 thoughts on “Don’t Write Every Day!

  1. I don’t write everyday. For me the idea that if I didn’t write everyday I wasn’t a real writer crippled me to the point that I’d go months without writing. It was the same feeling as getting caught in the query/rejection cycle. Since becoming indie, I’ve let a lot of those harmful ideas go. Now, although I might not write everyday, I definitely am thinking about my WIP everyday. I also read a lot. Getting things straight in your head, plotting, editing, reading-I completely agree that these are all things as valuable to a writer as the actual act of writing some days. I also watch a lot of Disney movies and may have used the word “day” 17 times in this comment. 🙂

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    1. The same thing happened to me! Once I decided to go indie and realized I would have to juggle many hats (designer, marketer, producer/publisher, distributor), I realized I simply couldn’t focus on only the writing. It’s freed me to be creative in one more than one way, leaving my imagination free to dream about the WIP.

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  2. Honestly, the only time that I write every day is when I’m working on NaNoWriMo. (I should be writing more but… yes.)

    Usually, when I feel myself dreading going on with a story, I usually find that I’m doing something wrong. An unnecessary scene, or something out of character. I feel like the good stuff flows easily. Maybe it’s just me, though?

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    1. Totally not just you. I’m in the middle of a chapter that feels like pulling teeth, so I need to take a step back, maybe try it from another character’s viewpoint. When I’ve got it right, I know. Like you, it just flows easily.

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  3. I just saw a link to this on Twitter from @duolit so I'm laaaate in commenting. But in my mind there are lots of things that count as writing because many things contribute to the overall writing process. Reading, thinking, outlining, walking my dog (cause I get great ideas then), listing verbs other writers use…..

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    1. No worries! Happy to have you commenting. I agree, there are so many activities that count as writing, simply because it's such a cerebral task. Technically, you could be writing anywhere.. in the shower, while you're sleeping, while you're eating, etc. Thanks for stopping by!

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