It sounds simple. Writers write. It kind of goes with the territory. And if we didn’t like, nay love, nay were obsessed by writing we wouldn’t do it. But the things we can love we can also, at times, dislike, nay hate, nay want to hurl out of the window. But there’s a train of thought that advises if you want to be a writer, you need to write every day, no excuses. So is it really the best advice?
Why you should write every day
Writing, like most things, requires practice. Yes you may have an innate knack for it, but unless you’re a real prodigy, you’ll still need to put in some work. So writing every day, is like practising the piano, or lifting weights. It helps you get better. From a practical point of view it also helps to actually advance what you’re working on. And it can help your mental health, engaging your mind creatively and letting you express yourself
Why you shouldn’t write every day
Writing is a cognitive exercise. So if you’re mentally tired, you’re not necessarily doing yourself (or your writing) any favours, by forcing yourself to write. If you have a day job, it’s easy to feel you need a break at the end of the day instead of concentrating. And if your work involves a computer or any kind of writing, it can be like deja vu even if you’re getting to work on your own stuff for a change. And then of course there’s home life. Children, pets, homes all need tending to. And on the writing front, it is possible to simply not be inspired enough to do any work.
Remember – “writing” isn’t just writing
I’ve got a whole blog post about this if your interested, but shameless self-promotion aside, writing involves a lot of not writing activities, top most of which is thinking. The trouble with thinking is it can feel like you’re not doing anything. But trust me, you are. There’s a great many books out there which have a noticeable lack of thought about them so really the more you can think, the better.
Work out a compromise
All this being said, if you don’t write, then nothing will be written (see I’m deep me). That means no book (or poem or screenplay) to go with your writing day-dreams. So whilst I don’t necessarily subscribe to the idea you must write every day, it could be worth trying it to see if it works for you. You don’t have to write much, you don’t even have to work on the same thing all the time, you just have to write. Or how about scheduling your writing in, so you have specific days committed to your work? (I’ve got a blog post for that too).
So in conclusion, no, I don’t think you need to write every day. But what about you? Do you do it (or try to)? Please share in the comments!