I had an epiphany this morning!
I’ve always hated the “write every day” advice that’s always stuffed down writers throats. WHAT IF WE CAN’T, HUH? What if we’re having a bad day, can’t think of anything new, or simply don’t feel like writing? Does that make us any less of a writer?
I always have a certain amount of guilt if a day…or two…or three goes by without getting anything written. And then that usually leads me to procrastinate even more. It’s a vicious cycle, really.
But what I realized this morning is that I SHOULD be writing every day, but ONLY when I am working on a specific project.
The problem is, if I take a step away for a few days, I end up losing touch with my characters, I forget where the story left off, and I lose momentum. I’m used to sitting down and doing 5+ hour stretches of writing, and THAT can be exhausting at times.
When I taught pre-GED reading at the Greenville Literacy Association, many of my students were adults who had difficulty reading a short story, let alone a novel. I would always tell them that learning to read is like playing an instrument, you HAVE to practice every day, even if it’s only for 15 minutes, if you want to improve.
I learned to play the guitar a few years back, so I know how important that 15 minutes of practice is, even when I really didn’t feel like doing it.
The same rule applies to writing. I need to stop forcing myself into these marathon writing sessions and, at the very least, commit to 30 minutes to an hour a day of writing. Even if it’s just cleaning up a certain chapter, I need to sit down and engage with my manuscript if I want to stay connected to it.
This is the new plan going forward. Even if I don’t feel like it, I will spend a minimum of 30 minutes each day writing. I might get only 100 words out, but that’s certainly 100 words more than I would have if I simply ignored my manuscript all together. I think THAT is what “write every day” means. I don’t have to knock out a chapter. Just a sentence will do.
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