By Jennifer Blanchard
It’s been argued back and forth for years about whether writers should be in the habit of writing every day.
Some writers believe that daily writing isn’t necessary, some writers only want to write when they feel inspired, while others refuse to deviate from their daily writing schedules.
Regardless of which group you fall into (or if you fall into another group completely), the important thing to remember is: The more often you write, the better your writing will become.
I believe that writers need to be in the habit of writing, period. But that doesn’t mean you have to write every day (because remember, you don’t have to do anything).
I believe that writers need to write as often as works for them. For some writers that’s daily, no exceptions. For others it’s a few times a week.
But if you’re not in the habit of writing pretty regularly (at least a few days a week), you could be in trouble.
In the book, The Practice of Creative Writing: A Guide for Students, by Heather Sellers, she discusses everything from the writing life to focus to procrastination to how to structure a story and more.
The section that really made me start to think, however, fell under the category of “The Writing Habit.”
In the book, Sellers says:
“If you don’t have a writing habit, you aren’t being fair to yourself. You might even be setting yourself up for failure. If you write only when you are ‘in the mood,’ or when you ‘have some time,’ you will never be able to write enough material to see what you are good at, what needs work.
Good writers write whether they are in the mood or not. They practice whether they feel like it or not. It’s the only way. Everyday practice. That’s how you get better.
[Successful] Writers are simply people who have figured out how to spend enough time in the writing room every day in order to create enough work so that some of it is good.
Remember: You will want to avoid writing. All writers struggle with procrastination, writer’s block, distraction, or laziness. All successful writers develop strategies to deal with these issues. Conquering not-writing is probably half the battle…”
I think this section of information is profound. Maybe even genius.
Not because Sellers is saying something new or something you probably didn’t already know.
The reason I think it’s profound is because of its simplicity.
Sellers states: “Good writers write whether they are in the mood or not. They practice whether they feel like it or not. It’s the only way. Everyday practice. That’s how you get better.”
And that statement falls in line with the basic idea of being good at anything–whether that be writing or playing an instrument or playing a sport. You have to practice as much and as often as possible.
The best of the best practice every single day, no exceptions.
I think in the debate of “to write every day or not to write every day,” it really comes down to what you’re trying to accomplish.
If your goal is to get published, then daily practice is probably what it’s going to take.
But if you’re only a writer by hobby and don’t want to work toward publication, then when and how often you write really falls in line with you wanting to write.
So before you choose a side in the great “write every day” debate…you need to ask yourself: What do I want to achieve?
Do you have a habit of writing? Or do you just write “when you feel like it?” How does having a habit/not having a habit affect your writing life?
About the Author: Jennifer Blanchard is founder of Procrastinating Writers. Be sure to follow her on Twitter.