I’ve seen “you should write every day” in so many places, from writing advice articles to Pinterest boards. I’m pretty sure some very famous and successful writers have talked about the importance of writing every day. I’m not saying it doesn’t work. I’m not saying it’s bad advice or that you shouldn’t write every day. I’m saying you don’t have to. And I mean it, hard.
A writer is a writer
It doesn’t matter if you are, or are aiming to be, a traditionally published, indie published or self published author, if you’re planning to release serialised fiction on Wattpad or your blog, or submit short stories to lit mags or anthologies. There is literally no situation where you should absolutely have to write literally every single day of your life (unless you want to).
Rest is for everyone
If you don’t believe me, take that same advice and apply it to other jobs, vocations or hobbies. You aren’t a real teacher because you aren’t in school at the weekends. You can’t be a surgeon unless you’re performing surgery every single day. You’re not a photographer if you have a day off taking pictures. It’s unrealistic, right? Everyone, no matter what they do for a living or for fun, needs to take a break sometimes.
Periods of focus and Big Project Energy
Writing every day can be awesome – NaNoWriMo fans, I’m looking at you. I love diving into a big project, letting it take over my mind, giving as much time and attention to it as I can. Yes, it’s obsessive and sometimes a little bit crazy, but it’s also fun and passionate and joyful. Writing every day for a month can be a wild ride, but you know what? You probably need a breather afterwards (I know I do) and that’s perfectly acceptable. I’d go as far as to say that I fully recommend not burning yourself out by feeling that you have to write every single day.
Your schedule should serve you
Chances are, if you’re a writer of any stripe, you probably don’t have too many days when you aren’t at least thinking about writing, if not actually doing it. We seem to be a very dedicated bunch and I love that! But there are no hard and fast rules about how to structure your writing life. What works for one person might not work for another and I’m willing to bet that a schedule created around your own goals, preferences and lifestyle will serve you so much better than a schedule built on shoulds and shame.
Writing doesn’t have to mean writing
If you do really want to write every day and you honestly, truly believe it’s the best strategy for you, but you’re struggling to dive deep into a big writing project without a break, you might want to try expanding your view of what writing is, or what it can be. Writing can be stand-alone microfiction based on a daily prompt (hello, Twitter #WritingCommunity). It can be journaling. It can be researching, plotting and planning. It can be revising and editing. It can be adding a few sentences to your creative playground project (I’m going to write a whole post about that soon). I can be immersing yourself in inspirational art and entertainment, like watching films in the genre of the book you’re writing or creating mood-based playlists to listen to when you’re working on your WIP.
Give yourself permission to do your own thing
The world of writing reaches far beyond putting new words on a page or a screen. You can write every day if it works for you, if it serves you. You can do something related to writing on days when you’re not writing-writing if you want to. You can also absolutely, definitely, without a shadow of a doubt, take days off. Sometimes a break is just what your mind needs to recharge so you can create even better stories when you do next sit down to write. You do you, writer friends.
Over to you!
Do you write every day? Do you have a strict schedule with on-days and off-days or do you write as and when you feel like it? Do you love periods of focused writing (like NaNoWriMo) followed by periods of rest? I’d love to hear about your experiences, so please do leave a comment and share your thoughts. If you’d like to receive notifications of new posts in your email inbox or WordPress reader, you’re very welcome to subscribe. As always, thank you so much for reading. ❤