Monday, January 2, 2012

Why you write every day

So I have pneumonia.  Don’t worry, it’s not that serious.  I’ve had it for about a week now and even though I still get lightheaded my doctor seems to think I’ll be back to my usual self within a few days. 

Honestly, the most frustrating part is I haven't been able to write as much as I usually do. Normally, I try to write or edit at least a chapter a day.  However, when I’m sick this hardly ever works out.  I grab my notebook or bring up a new document in Microsoft Word, pumped up and ready to go, and then creativity falls flat on its face. 

In the past week I have managed a little bit of outlining (which does not count as writing) and I have started editing a novella I am writing for my fiancé.  However, these were done in spurts, with many false starts and I lack my usual spark.  What I have written is considerably weaker than usual output. 

Granted, a week is not that terribly long, but whenever you ask published novelists “what advice do you have for aspiring writers?” they usually answer with something like, “Write!  Write every day.” 

The most obvious reason for this advice is that if you write every day you will produce a high quantity of work.  However, there is also an underlying reason.  If you don’t write every day you lose momentum.  Storytelling becomes a hobby instead of a requirement.  It gets harder to pick up the pen/laptop again and worst of all you start to wonder, “Who will ever want to read a novel about a (insert protagonist) battling a (insert antagonist) over a (insert mcguffin).

This week I experienced first hand the underlying affects of not writing every day.  When I have been feeling well enough to write it is hard to motivate myself, and I have been questioning my work.  Even worse, when I don’t express myself creatively I get moody and depressed (sorry family and loved ones!).  I mean, I have a good excuse for not writing, I have !@#$ing pneumonia!  At least I haven’t been healthy but watching Hulu all week.   

Still, even after I get better it'll take a while for the creativity hamster to hop back on his wheel and it's going to take even longer to catch up. 


  1. Amen, especially to the point about momentum. When I can't write, I edit. I will admit, having gotten a bad case of the holiday blahs, that I've struggled hard the last few weeks: but it does feel so good to back to work. I always compare it to the gym: once you're off the habit of going, it's very hard to get started again.

  2. I know. For some reason it turns into a chore instead of a passion.

  3. I'd add that it's also important to READ every day. By doing so, you're constantly building vocabulary, absorbing technique, and learning what's already been written--all crucial to developing your own style.