Write Every Day? Maybe . . .

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

You’ve probably heard of the advice that a writer should write every day. I disagree with that – I feel writers have to find their own pace – but it works for me and seems to work for a majority of authors I know. But, let me clarify that though it works for me, how it works for me wasn’t what I expected . . .

In trying to write every day, I found myself under strain to keep up on my various projects. Much of what I do involves writing, and thus writing every day was hard, as I tried to keep up on the many things I wrote.

You probably see where this is going, but to clarify – I tried to write on everything each day if possible.

Eventually I asked myself, why try to keep up on every project every day? It was tiresome, reduced focus, and the context switching was exhausting. Why, I asked, did I try to cover so much at one time.

Yeah, again, you see where this is going. I took the idea of writing every day and used it to touch every project each day.

What I’ve been trying recently is to focus on writing each day, but to deep dive on one of my projects. This could, in some cases, be three or four hours of writing if I’m in the mood. But, the goal each day is to write on something – but not necessarily the same thing each day.

This has been a revelation to me – though for you it may seem obvious. I was diluting my focus each day, getting less done with more stress. So far, I’ve gotten a lot more done and had a lot less stress.

There are a few insights I wanted to share:

  • This deep dive applies to just about anything from writing – writing, editing, formatting.
  • I find a “focus per day” works well, but the same things each day might get boring. You may need a break or have to focus on something else. At least you’ll do so after you’ve accomplished something.
  • This write-each-day-on-different-things works very well with goal setting as you can create much more solid goals per day – perhaps set goals for both days and weeks.
  • This approach develops discipline of focus as opposed to discipline for juggling.
  • It’s a good way to find if you’ve got too much to do. I already learned I was juggling too much.

I hope this insight helps you. It certainly has helped me – and you may just see more out of me now (or if less, be assured I’m productive in other areas).

Steven Savage