You don't have to write every day to be a writer

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. ❤

5 thoughts on “You don't have to write every day to be a writer

  1. I love this. I think i do write every day but I include ‘writing’ as a long email to my best friend (because I craft the paragraphs and often try to amuse or convey a sense of something I’m thinking about), a poem, a blog post on my sobriety site, or even work-writing. And my journal. Sometimes I even handwrite letters (!!) I agree that also going for a walk and thinking about your WIP or character or even hearing a song that resonates can count. I think that if a person only sees ‘writing’ as actual fingers to keyboard on a particular project, they’re probably living in a world of perfectionism that is probably going to be their demise! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Most of my breakthrough moments have come when I’ve been nowhere near a computer. Forests and beaches have gotten me through a lot of…not blocks as such, but just not really being sure where I wanted a story to go or what a character would do in a certain situation. Non-writing writing is such a valuable part of my process.

      Like

    1. High five! One of my goals at the moment is to take a lot of pressure off myself to do all the things all the time, which is really hard after a lifetime of believing that my worth was based on usefulness and productivity. Accepting that I don’t have to write every single day took a while, but I have such a better relationship with writing now.

      Like

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