So Much Misinformation Out There
When I look back over the past twenty years of my writing, I see a landscape littered with talking heads telling me what I must do to successfully write my books. I cannot convey the colossal scope of crap tossed my way. I paid dearly, like most other writers, for all the dead end trails to which these likely well-intentioned people led me.
One such trail is the “writers write” trail. Or, the “write every day” trail. Don’t get me wrong. I am a huge proponent of writing every day. My writing hero, Ray Bradbury, admonished writers to do so. My issue rears its writer’s soap box head when it comes to the definition of “writing.”
Most, if not all, writers pause to look out windows or take up some meandering, non-mind-consuming task to free themselves to think through characters, plotlines, chapters. I call that writing. I discovered some writers only recognize words on paper (or screen) as writing.
Such a narrow view of the writing process dismays me. A rigid, militaristic assault on writing may work for some, but my experience tells me most writers lose their creative mojo when pressed by such an unforgiving mindset.
I write every day, but not necessarily on my books. In fact, after nine published books, I took a couple years off. Not on purpose, unfortunately, but that’s a story for another day. Now, I’m writing two books concurrently and I’m loving it. I write a lot of blogs, poetry, articles, and copy for social media. I support myself solely on my writing, which most writers do not do.
Each writer must find their comfort zone with their creativity. Creativity does not spring from a spigot. No magic knob will turn it off and on. Sometimes it may seem so, other times, not so much. The writing process can be quite fickle. Each person who chooses to write will need to come to grips with their internal mindset and how it fits their writing agenda. I’ve looked, and there is no magic one-size-fits-all writing pattern.
I know writers who write through passion only, therefore their inner muse must be engaged before they get moving. I might never get anything written if I wrote that way. I see it work for some writers, so more power to them. I know other writers who will sit and dutifully put their nose to the grindkeyboard and knock out word count daily. Again, I might never get anything written if writing became such a chore.
Writing for me is indeed a daily thing, but my definition of writing does not fit the cold, hard, you-must-be-keying-words-to-qualify definition. I work through my plot. I develop my characters in my mind. I play with them, plot and characters mentally to see what may spark. Once I get writing, I continue to experiment with them in my head throughout my day. That’s writing to me. That’s what keeps my writing moving forward.
Talk to 1000 writers, you will likely get similar yet divergent definitions based on personality and experience. Should you write every day? Only you may answer that question. I submit to you, when you run into someone who states unequivocally that you must, I would flee that person’s advice.
Writing is a solitary endeavor. We each have our similarities, yet we each own peculiar differences which make it truly impossible to find a one-size-fits-all answer. Be aware of the traps of procrastination which keep you from writing. I prefer to think of writing as exercise. Any writing becomes mental exercise. Exercise I enjoy and feel great about afterward. If I want to stay in shape, I will attempt to write every day. That works for me. It does not work for everyone,nor should it.
The only way you will know the answer to the question “Should I write every day?” is to get out there and try it. Find YOUR version of a creative writing schedule. The great thing is, despite what you may hear out in the writing world, there are no set rules on how you must perform the task. You set your rules. Should your way of writing not satisfy your goals, go back and alter your rules to better fit your plan for success. You have the power. Use it!
In writing, beware the talking heads. Yes, I am one of them. As my mentor drilled into me for years. take the best of what they have to day, jettison the rest. Craft your own writing style. Find your own pace that works. Borrow a little from this person, some from that person. Be open, no matter how far along in the writing experience you currently stand, to different ways of doing things with your writing.
When it comes to talking heads, keep only the crap that helps you…