Why I Don’t Write Every Day

Yes, you read that right. While practically everyone else is telling you “write every day” like a mantra to be repeated until you are getting very sleepy, I am telling you the exact opposite.

Why? Why not write every day? Isn’t practice the key to  getting better? If all the bestselling authors say it, isn’t that the secret to becoming a brilliant author?

Yes, and no. I think “write every day” is good advice for those just starting out. When you are just starting as a writer, you  need all the time and practice you can get to develop yourself as a writer, which can only really come from getting words on the page. So if you are new to writing, by all means, write every day. If you are anyone really, and you want to write every day, by all means go for it!

I am not here to stand in the way of anyone who wants to write all the time. That’s awesome, go do it! I am here to talk to those who beat themselves up because they don’t.

First of all, writing every day assumes a lot of things. You don’t have a full-time day job, or three kids, or a full class load, or a social life, or basically anything else. It assumes you have time to sit down at a computer and pour your soul out, every day of the week. Even if you can find time to wedge writing between the conference calls and cleaning spit up and cramming for a test, do you really want to write right then?

You sit down and stare at that blinking cursor on a blank part of the page, and it seems a lot less like your passion and more like another one of the day’s many chores to cross off your list. I don’t think anyone should ever feel that way about writing. When that happens, you have stopped being a writer, and become a machine, going through the motions.

Yes, there will be days you don’t feel like writing, and you shouldn’t let that stop you. You shouldn’t use lack of motivation or inspiration as an excuse, but sometimes it happens. Sometimes you just don’t feel like writing, and you shouldn’t force it. You shouldn’t force it because then your words will feel forced, which the reader can tell, not to mention you end up starting to hate everything to do with writing.

The only time I have ever forced myself to write (almost) every day was for CampNaNo. Honestly, I would never do it again. I was exhausted, and every time I sat down to write I started to hate it more and more. The words suffered for it, too. I am still cleaning up the mess of some of those scenes I wrote, and probably will be for a while to come.

I don’t write every day because writing every day sucks the life and joy out of it for me. I start to dread it, feel obligated, and guilty when I don’t. I hate that feeling. When I sit down to write, I want to feel excited. I want my mind to be whirling with all kinds of scenes and voices and images that I just can’t wait to put on the page.

Now one thing I will tell you to do (almost) every day is read. I learn more in an hour of reading than I do in ten hours of writing, and I could never get burnt out.

Writing every day works for some people, which is great (but we secretly hate those people). For those of you who it doesn’t work for (like me) don’t worry about it. Write as much as you can, as often as you can, but never let it take away your love for writing.

 

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12 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Write Every Day

  1. Thank you for writing this, since this is how I feel. I used to beat myself up for not writing everyday and when I forced myself too, I hated what I wrote and would just end up deleting it later. I have a full time job plus 3 kids and all the responsibilities that come with it so writing it something I have to make time for. Recently, I switched from trying to write to just taking alone time to read and it has done wonders for my writing. I feel inspired again. My sentences flow better and don’t feel rushed. Reading, in my opinion, is by far one of the best things a writer can do.

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  2. Quanity vs quality. Quanity is just thinking every thought in our head is golden and having the urge to write it down as instantly as we think it. Quality is something that requires effort and deep thought. Actually being able to write well and continue working with abilities.

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  3. I’ve being feeling this way recently. Which led to me back shelving my novel — plus because I just couldn’t connect with the characters — but from writing everyday, outlining and over-thinking, my previous excitement drifted away. I have a new idea, but I’m trying a different method which isn’t so restricted, where I just grab a notepad and write what I know on the characters and plot, maybe the bones of a few chapters, but nothing more as the first draft an be the outline, where it’ll change frequently whilst you write it. Sorry, going off track; what I’m saying is, as I don’t have to write as a living, it time and not write everyday, so it’s good to see I’m not the only one who feels this way. Great post!

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  4. Testify, Sister. I write in fits and starts. I enjoy writing and refuse to make it into another chore. I go for months without anything but the blog. I try to have a complete idea before I start writing, and a certain amount of thought has to go into it. In a way, daydreaming about story is writing. I just don’t use the keyboard on those days.

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  5. I agree, as soon as you feel ‘compelled’ to write, you can lose the very magic you are trying to create. I only write every day because the kids are at school and if I didn’t write, I’d read all day lol. But the days I don’t write, I move on knowing it was the right thing to do.

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  6. hehe You secretly hate me? Nah, I actually don’t write every day these days. But when I get down to work, I get down to work and sit at my desk every day for at least 15 minutes. If it still isn’t coming when I’ve reached that time goal, I move on to something else. Usually it comes and I end up sitting till I need eye drops and my bladder is screaming at me because I’ve been ignoring it for the past hour while I’ve been slowly drinking coffee.

    A lot of the time when I switch activities then, I’ll move to writing up a blog post or I’ll do some research. You can never research enough in my eyes. The research usually gives me some ideas to toy with later.

    Of course, it helps that I’m a stay-at-home mom with only 1 kid though even that 1 kid can suck up tons of time. He’s good about giving Mommy her work time. When I start working I’ll tell him, “I’m going to be at my desk working. Will you be okay?” (He knows he can bug me as often as he wants…and usually does.) He’s heard me say it so often that he’ll tell my husband and I when we ask him what he’s doing, “I’m working.” hehehe I’ll take him to the library and he’ll go to one of the computers and act like he’s typing on it. “I’m working, Mommy.”

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  7. I haven’t written daily for years. It’s exhausting. When I go weeks without writing, that’s when I worry about what’s going on, but if it’s sporadic – every few days or even only once or twice a week – then it just means I have other shit to take care of.

    I kinda feel bad for suggesting you do Camp NaNo. 😡 If it makes you feel any better, the same thing happens to me every NaNo experience, Camp or November: I have to clean up the mess that’s left behind afterward for months on end. It’s not pretty.

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  8. Hey sis! I have been all over the place with my writing. I haven’t written steadily since my computer crashed. But, I am doing okay. I haven’t written anything in about 3 weeks. Working a retail job gives me no stability. I’m in the process of finding another job now so that I can plan to write. Not to mention school starts tomorrow! Shoot me, lol.

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  9. Pingback: Posts to Check Out and a BIG thank you! | A Writer's Life For Me.

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