Three weeks ago, I decided that I wanted to explore various bits of well-known writing advice and try and articulate what each one means to me.
I’ll note now, and I should have noted this in the beginning that nothing in here is anything that I’d call a “Rule.” If you find that this works for you, that’s ok. If not, that’s ok too.
This week, I’m looking at something that’s not so much writing advice, rather more like advice for Authors, but it comes up all the time and you’ve almost certainly heard before:
“Write Every Day.”
Initially, I was toying with the idea of making this a super short post, simply proclaiming the above bit of advice to be unalloyed horseshit and move on with the rest of my day.
Because more often than not, this “Advice” is proclaimed – and it’s almost always a proclamation – in a “Gate-keepery” way. It implies an “Or Else” at the end. Or else you aren’t a real writer. Or else you’re not taking this seriously enough to “Make it”. Or else you can’t be a part of the club that I’m a part of – which is fine because I don’t want you there anyway.
The goalposts keep moving and you can’t ever stop chasing them.
I don’t think it was always like that. I think the intent behind the advice nowadays has tainted the spirit of it.
To me, “Write Every Day” actually means “Write Often.”
It should go without saying that Writing is a craft and a skill and there’s only one way to get better:
Practice, practice, practice.
If you want to improve your writing, you’ve got to write.
And, yes, there’s sacrifice. Let’s call it what it is. When you choose to write, you’re sacrificing everything else that you could be doing at that moment. And I’m not just talking about Doomscrolling, or playing a game, or something. This is time away from family, from friends.
But, just because it’s a sacrifice, that doesn’t mean it’s bad. You take the time to write because you enjoy it. It won’t always be easy, and you won’t always get the same level of enjoyment out of it.
Sidebar: If you don’t believe me on that point, watch a sports match – I recommend Rugby. Everyone on that field is there because they love the game – and they’ve made significant sacrifices to get there. At the end of that 80 minutes, there’s a massive difference in the levels of enjoyment between the winning and losing sides – but everyone there still loves the game.
But you do it because you love it. This is something that you “Get” to do, not something that you “Have” to do.
That’s the difference between “Write Often” and “Write Every Day.”
You can’t avoid doing the work if you want to get better, and you’re going to wear out more than a few chairs over the course of your writing career.
You’re going to miss the occasional night out. You’re going to turn in early or get up early or both to fit that writing time in – because, lets face it, most of us have to make the time to do it around everything else going on in our lives.
But the time spent is worth it.
Thanks for reading.
Be safe out there. Be Excellent to Each other.
I’ll see you on Thursday.
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