Write Every Day: Bad Advice?

“Write every day” is standard advice to writers. We’ve all heard it. I used to feel guilty because I do NOT write every day. I regarded my failure to do so as … well, a failure.

Now I know better. After eight books with a ninth in progress, I know what pattern or schedule works for me. I’m a binge writer, an all-or-nothing kind of wordsmith. When I’m writing, I don’t want to do anything else except drink coffee, eat when I start getting the shakes, and sleep when I must. That kind of intensity is productive, but exhausting. I can only keep it up for three days. Then, I must have a break.

Today was my non-writing day of “rest.” I’ve spent it doing a bunch of things that writers must do:

  • Checked Goodreads for new reviews (and found a lovely one)
  • Checked on my audiobook sales via Findaway Voices (and found a good number of new sales)
  • Found a new link for my audiobook at Hoopla
  • Found a new link for all four books of the Waterspell series at Overdrive / Libby
  • Updated my Books2Read universal book links (UBLs) with those new links
  • Scheduled a December 16 book promo with The Fussy Librarian
  • Communicated with my local library about adding Waterspell to their catalog
  • Made a new Bookstagram graphic with the lovely Goodreads review
  • Wrote this blog post

Waterspell review at Goodreads October 2022Additionally, I fulfilled my obligations to a save-American-democracy group in which I’m active in the area of Communications. And: I watched the Jan. 6 Committee Hearing on PBS. Busy day!

Would I have wanted to break away from my work-in-progress to do any of these things? Absolutely not. I suppose there are writers who can write fiction for just 4 hours in a day, and then put the book out of their mind, to focus on such mundane tasks as I’ve listed above. I’m not one of those writers. A far more productive approach, for me, is to devote whole days at a stretch to my writing, and to nothing else.

At the end of three intense days, I’m totally ready to turn my mind to less taxing tasks. By the same token, after one or two days of necessary but boring administrative/business work, I’m eager to throw myself back into the world of my imagination.

“Write every day” is a recipe for burnout, in my opinion. If you’re really into the story and the people you’re writing about, your mind and psyche can’t keep you deeply “in character,” indefinitely. You need a break. You need to come up for air, and spend a little time away from the story so you can return to it, refreshed. And unless you’re able to afford a personal assistant who can handle all of your non-writing jobs, you need to set aside time to tackle your To-Do list.

Don’t cut into your writing time to do those boring jobs. Hold your writing days sacrosanct. Set your phone to Do Not Disturb and commit yourself to do nothing except Write.

But don’t “write every day.” You’ve got other things to do.

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