We’ve all heard the advice “write every day” and “write x words a day.” It’s easy for people to toss this advice off, and it’s equally easy for people to feel guilty they don’t do it, or for those that to do be self-righteous. Writing is a challenging thing, a personal thing, and guilt and self-aggrandizement help neither. I think the better idea is “stay in touch with your writing each day.”
See, I do try to write every day. It helps me plan ahead, make schedules, and make measurable progress. It’s not always the same thing every day, but it usually is. As of late, dealing with the Pandemic and all, I began to notice something.
Some days I’d write the same work for hours upon hours, and other times much less. But there were times when I had to take a break from whatever project to do other things – and when I took those breaks, sometimes something was missing.
I also noticed when I focused on a given project – up to a point- that it got easier to work on every minute I spent. I was getting “into” the work, getting in touch with it, getting to know it. Spending time on a project meant an increasingly intimate, inspired understanding of it.
Finally, I noticed when I wasn’t writing, but got inspired and jotted something down, I got the same rush as having spent, say, two hours writing the same book. That same fire was there.
This led me to an important conclusion: you may not be able to write every day, or write the same project every day. However you should try to “get in touch” with your project each day.
What do I mean by “get in touch?” I mean know your work intimately, be connected to it, feel it. You know, those moments you just “get it” like you get a good friend.
So each day, even if you can’t write, take a few minutes to review your notes, jot down ideas, or read a chapter you’ll be editing. Do something that connects you to your current writing project or projects so you have that vital, intimate feel.
Again, I do think writing every day is useful. But it’s not for everyone, and some people prefer (or have to do) large blocks of writing time. Just take time each day to connect yo your writing projects so you keep that fiery, powerful relationship going.
And don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for what works for you.