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Write Every Day or Stop Now: Internalizing Advice

I can’t decide whether or not to touch this. So, for anyone who isn’t aware, there was an article posted recommending that anyone who wants to write a book should sit down to write every day, or quit now.

The article (I used donotlink.it so as to avoid giving the article a boost): If You Want to Write a Book, Write Every Day or Quit Now

Authors took to Twitter to object to this article. And I understand why. It’s poorly conceived, full of shaming language, and perpetuates what I often hear referred to as ‘the worst writing advice ever given’ to new writers.

But… it’s what I do.

Now, I know it’s the Handed Down from On-High nature of the article’s tone. I know that many of the authors who flipped their twitter tables are also authors who have a well-established daily writing habit.

But I still felt shamed, somehow, by the backlash I witnessed. I know it wasn’t directed at me. And I know it wasn’t directed, even, at authors who do write every day. It was directed at the mandate, and at those who would wield such blanket statements (and especially at those who would suggest that giving up is the only alternative).

But I know what happens if I don’t give my writing practice daily attention. I wander. I get lost. I put it off. Procrastination seeps in the cracks and I do nothing.

I’ve sort of been experiencing this over the past week.

Even though my butt was in the chair. Even though I have been addressing things on my self-assigned writing-oriented task list.

I haven’t created. And I feel my creative muscles weakening. They’re not atrophied yet, but if I don’t do something soon, they may start.

And in the middle of this unfocused feeling, when I knew the best thing I could do was return to the daily creation practice, suddenly authors I respect were shaming the suggestion that daily writing is a good thing.

It’s a knee-jerk reaction. On their parts. On my part. But we all felt our reactions very specifically and poignantly. As a result, I shrank into myself. Desperate to return to my daily progress, and yet shamed for wanting to.

It was an odd dichotomy, and it’s where I’ve existed for the past week or so.

I didn’t sit down to write this morning. It’s totally unrelated to everything above. My husband has been battling severe depression, worse than usual, for the past few months. Last night he asked if we could have breakfast together, and damned if I’m going to skip quality time with him for a single hour of writing. I’m more than happy to do it. I even told him I’d be happy to make this a regular, weekly thing. Skip one writing session a week, no big deal. I won’t shame myself for that. I won’t quit writing because I can only manage six days a week.

Hell, I’d make married breakfast a daily thing if he started getting up early enough (he was up all night, though, so that doesn’t count). I’d figure it out. I’d find another time to write daily.

But I’d still make writing a daily practice. Or almost daily. No shame in either.

I don’t know what I’m trying to say with this post, but I was feeling reflective about it, and had nothing else, really, to report today, so there you go.

The fact is, the act of creation is extremely personal. I can’t express what the person across from me has to express, and I can’t tell them how to do it. If you want to write a book, write a book. Find a way to make it happen, in a way that works for you. It doesn’t matter if it takes fourteen years to write, or if you write fourteen a year. If you have a book in you, let it out. It’ll be painful enough without trying to conform to a mold that someone else has made and handed out like hotel bibles.

You do you. Write every day, or don’t.

I’ll do me. Whether I write every day, or don’t.