Welcome to Craft in Reverse, a blog series where I take a piece of writing advice and deconstruct it both in the positive and negative.
This week: Write every day.
This is great advice for beginning writers, and can be really useful throughout a writers’ entire lifetime if it suits a given person. For about the first three or four years since I started writing, I followed this rule pretty closely. The results weren’t well-written books (I was new to the craft and a teenager, after all) but I grew a lot in my writing skills. My first big break from writing every day was as a first year student in college. I took a few months break but missed writing enough to come back and deliver the goods with some of the biggest individual writing days I’ve ever had, though I didn’t go back to writing every day.
Breaking the every day habit was an early step toward my personal move toward less relaxed writing, a very negative path I’m trying to leave to this day. For a month or so I’ve tried to write some kind of fiction every day, in addition to the editing my current series, but not in the numbers I want. Starting this week or next I want to try writing more substantially every day to start building the habit again.
So, what are the pitfalls of the advice?
First of all, not everyone has the disposition to write every day. Some writers (Such as Eric Flint and Nathan Lowell) are binge writers, who power through books then take a break from writing for some period of time. I’ve experimented with this approach as well (Though I find it more satisfying to keep the breaks to a minimum, personally). As long as the writing gets done to the writer’s satisfaction, how often they put words down may no matter so much. Like all writing advice, this tip can become dogma, and dogma is dangerous in every form and arena.
So write every day to get used to writing. Or don’t. As with all advice, it’s up to each writer, individually.
Thanks for reading.
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