Anonymous asked:Is it ok to not write everyday? Is it ok to just take a week off or something? Is it ok to not force yourself to write?
Yes it is okay to take a day off or a week off or even, who knows? a month off or more.
The concept that writers must write every day or they’re not real writers is, I believe, a rule that someone came up with, I’m not sure who was first, and told other that was the hard and fast rule. “Writers write.” And while that’s true, writers do write and that’s what makes them writers, that doesn’t mean that you are only a writer while you’re actively writing. Some people write every day because they build a comfortable writing practice into their day. Some people can’t stop writing, like a compulsion. Some people are weekend writers. Some people keep notebooks with them where ever they go. Some people only write when they have a story to tell or when it’s vacation or when there’s a challenge or an assignment they have to write.
I, personally, am a rather compulsive writer. I need to write, not in order to call myself a writer or to keep my stories going, but for my mental health. I have been keeping a journal for thirty five years. Almost daily. There are periods where that slows down and I write less. Often because I’m writing somewhere else, like on a blog, or writing in school, or writing poetry, or writing analysis of a favorite tv show. There are other times when I set myself a daily wordcount for writing fiction. Over the years that has gone from 300 words a day to 3000 words a day. Let me be honest. Neither is right for me. 300 makes me feel like my progress is too slow and 3000 exhausts me, but I sometimes have to do it for work deadlines for weeks at a time. And let me tell you... when I hit my deadline, I just STOP writing for a while. I rest. I recover. I binge watch tv shows in bed.
And the truth is that while a daily writing practice is necessary for SOME writers, it isn’t necessary, wanted or possible for EVERY writer.
The thing about being a writer is that we ALL have different writing processes, and those writing processes can change throughout our lives.
Life is hard and chaotic and unruly, whether we’re talking about external responsibilities or your own health and mental well being. Sometimes we have to redistribute our energies.
I have gone through long stretches of time where I do NOT write. I don’t particularly like it and it starts to make me anxious if I don’t write for too long, but taking a break doesn’t mean you’re not a writer.
Particularly in this current writing climate when lots of people do nanowrimo and binge-write hard for a short period of time. If you write like that, without conditioning yourself to write that much daily, you are at risk of burnout. Believe me. This is my 15th year. I didn’t understand at first why I couldn’t write after doing nano, but now I get it.
Your brain and your creativity and your body all need to rest sometimes. Just because you’re sitting in front of a computer, sedentary, does not mean that you are not expending a great deal of energy. Learn to pace yourself. If that means not pushing to binge so hard, then so be it. If that means to take a rest after you write for awhile, to let your brain settle or let the story settle, then that’s okay too.
There IS a danger, when you stop writing, that you will fall off the writing habit and stop writing. You have to recognize that.
Sometimes it’s harder to get started writing again than it is to just keep writing, oh, 300 words a day, or a journal, or character outlines in a notebook. Just like being an athlete, if you stop exercising, and stop playing, you lose your muscles, the habit slips away, and in order to get back into top form, you have to work out again, build those muscles up, condition yourself to the marathon of writing a novel or the football season or the olympics or whatever sports metaphor rocks your boat. Wait. Don’t ask me about sports. Bad analogy for me... but GOOD analogy for writing.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR BRAIN AS A WRITER THE WAY AN ATHLETE TAKES CARE OF THEIR BODY AS AN ATHLETE. It’s your tool. And writing is hard work. If you STOP stop writing, you have to build it back up again. But if you take a rest day now and then, or BUILD time off into your writing schedule, or take a vacation, that doesn’t mean you’re not a writer.
It means you’re a writer who is filling the well, taking a rest, gaining experience so you have something to write about, mulling over your next story, giving your mind some air so you can go back and revise, going on vacation, taking in some content via movies or books so you can check out how other storytellers work, or you know... you’re a writer who is living their life, because you’re not JUST a writer, you’re also a person.
So in short. Yes writer’s write, but how they write looks different for everyone. It’s okay to take writing breaks. You get to figure out what your writing practice looks like. There are no universal rules for what a writer is or does. Each writer needs to learn their own writing process and how it works for them. If someone tells you you HAVE to write a certain way, don’t listen to them. If someone offers you a suggestion for what works for their writing, listen to them, check it out, see if it also works for you or if it doesn’t fit your process.
Leave a Reply.
Wonderer, wanderer, warrior. Been around for a while. Got some stuff going on. Should probably get back to blogging. I mean....I didn't go away, I was just talking about science fiction for a while.