One of the things that I contemplate on daily is whether I should write every day, even when I don’t feel like it (and there are plenty of days when I just don’t feel like it). Whenever I read articles or blog posts regarding the subject, they would all say the same thing: “You should be writing EVERY DAY.” I somewhat agree up to a point. I believe it depends on the writer and their situation. I found an interesting article by author and Assistant Professor at Georgetown University, Cal Newport who says that writing every day is actually “bad advice.”
There are times when you just don’t feel like going anywhere near your manuscript or blog because you can’t think of anything to write. That’s fine, it happens. However, I believe that it is important to know your habits so that you can work around them. Realize what your patterns are. If you know when you get home from work or school Monday through Friday that you’re mentally drained and all you want is to pour a drink or hop in your bed and go to sleep, then do that instead of writing and don’t feel guilty that you did. But you’re free on the weekends so spend that time writing. You don’t have to write all day from dawn until dusk (unless you really want to). Just a thousand words on Saturday and Sunday is enough (come on, that’s only about 4-5 pages).
In my case, I work Monday through Thursday and I try to write at least a couple hundred words a day when I get home and double that on weekends. Though, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, when my mom is off I don’t do any writing so I can hang out with her and on every other weekend, I don’t write so I can hang out with my boyfriend (although, I am tempted to write even when he’s here). There are plenty of times where I don’t stick to that schedule and I’ll only write on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday or just Friday or just Sunday, but I don’t beat myself up about it.
There was a time when I would feel terrible for not writing on a day that I was planning to. Now, I just accept the fact that I do have a life outside of my writing life and have to partake in that also. When you write, you should enjoy it, not dread it. If you’re at the point where you get annoyed at the thought of you having to come home from a busy day of life and type a few thousand words, then maybe it’s time you give your brain a break and when you start to miss writing go back to it. If you’re writing a book you don’t want to burn out before you have even finished your manuscript.
I do believe that we writers should write or involve ourselves in something that relates to our craft, and if not on a daily basis, then a few times a week so that we don’t get rusty or lose that drive. That something could be writing in a journal/diary, researching about an issue you’re having with your story such as character development or just commenting on other blogs. If you do stay away from something too long you can lose your mojo…jojo (in case you missed it, that was a Powerpuff Girls reference).
I was never one to believe that when it came to writing, there are set rules that apply to every person and every story. Some ideas work for some people, and others don’t. The bottom line is do what works. If what you’re doing is not working, change your strategy.
What do you think? Do you have a writing schedule or just go with the flow?