Recently, writers all over the Internet got outraged over an article declaring that unless you write every day, you’re not a real writer. I don’t share this article’s sentiment however, I do believe that if you can carve out the time and summon the wherewithal to write every day, you should.
Writing is worthwhile enough to warrant the time and effort it takes to write every day.
Write Every day for Love
Most of us who write, write out of love, not some twisted sense of obligation. Those of us who write out of a genuine love for writing need to write. Writing is how we stay sane. Writing is how we exorcise the madness brewing within us. We need it like water. Like a junkie needs a hit.
We must be careful not to let this need go unfulfilled.
In his book Zen in the Art of Writing, Ray Bradbury wrote:
If you did not write every day, the poisons would accumulate and you would begin to die or act crazy, or both.
You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you. For writing allows just the proper recipes of truth, life, reality as you can eat, drink, and digest without hyperventilating and flopping like a dead fish in your bed. I have learned on my journeys that if I let a day go by without writing, I grow uneasy. Two days and I am in tremor. Three and I suspect lunacy.
And I’ll tell you something. Sometimes. I go days without writing, weeks even but you know what? The whole time, I feel as if something is terribly amiss and the world doesn’t quite make sense. You may say, of course, there’s little about the world that makes sense these days but you know what? When I write it down, whatever I write helps me to put things into perspective. I can take a step back and release that tense breath I didn’t realize I’ve been holding. The world is no longer askew. Do you know that feeling?
So, why not give it a try? Write the world down. Breathe. Everyday.
Making Writing Daily a Habit
Writing is a habit that flourishes when nurtured. As with any skill, the more you write, the better you get at it. It’s that simple. I’m not saying make it your obligation to write X number of words every day. It’s fine to have a goal like that. Admirable even. But that’s not what I’m trying to encourage you to do.
What I have in mind is more like this:
Say you get up every day and you sit in front of your computer or stare at your notebook or phone and you write one word. On some days that one word turns into a sentence and then another and then another. It becomes an idea that morphs into a deluge of words. Some days though, it doesn’t turn into anything but that one word.
I’m saying that’s okay because with that one word, you’ve already lit a fire somewhere deep inside in your mind and the wheels are starting to turn. It might not turn into a substantial idea that same day but it might by the next day, or the next week, or so forth. It’s sort of like planting a seed and patiently watering it every day until it becomes a sapling which becomes an awesome tree that eventually blossoms.
To Each Their Own
The next time some upstart comes around and suggests that it’s their way or the highway, don’t get your panties all in a twist. Think about what they have to say. Sure, there are going to be some major flaws in their argument but I suspect the real reason it’s a bitter pill to swallow is that there is some truth in what they have to say.
Every writer is entitled to their own process. If you want to get up every morning and tackle writing like it’s some cumbersome chore, well, the thought of that breaks my heart and I suspect you’ve perhaps adopted the wrong vocation but guess what? That’s entirely up to you. If you get out of bed in the mornings and go all gung ho like a mountain climber tackling K2, I say yay! Go for it! Conquer that mountain! If you go at it all happy go lucky like a two-legged centaur learning to prancercize, I say hurray… you damn weirdo. Do your thing!
Struggle. Triumph. Mess around. Do it every day if you, if you can. Don’t hold it in inside like a pressure cooker about to explode unless that happens to be your process and you make it your prerogative to let those typing fingers dance amid that awesome explosion. Whatever you do, don’t let it destroy you and do yourself a favor. Don’t just turn the heat off and let it fizzle out to nothing.
For a writer, writing is how we live. Writing is the only mechanism we have at our disposal to prove to ourselves that we exist. So live! But live on your terms.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:
Writers are always working and growing, whether we’re scribbling or not. Whether we’re aware of it, or not.
Like Ray Bradbury wrote:
Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a landmine. Th landmine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces together.
Now, it’s your turn. Jump!