The headline of this blog post is the advice every writer gives to everyone who wants to be a writer. “Write every day.” It’s what I heard authors tell groups of students when I was in middle and high school. I heard it again in college. I keep hearing it. Hell, I’ve even said it.
Basically the advice means you will only become a better writer by actually writing. It’s how I’ve become a better writer.
But no one really talks about what to do when you don’t feel like writing. Or what do you “count” as writing.
The latter I’ve had plenty of arguments about with my friend Charles (aka @cpillsbury, who also comments here quite a bit). He used to argue that my writing for work as a reporter didn’t count toward writing in general. Yet I was probably writing more in a day, week or month than many other writers. If I’m averaging three articles per day at 500 words per day, that’s a lot of writing in a day. But then there was the subject of what I was writing. I thought it didn’t matter (and still don’t) since I was at least writing, and in the long-run that would make me better. Charles would argue I was writing for work and not writing to fulfill myself. But who says both weren’t happening for me? I find writing an article I’ve reported out just as fulfilling as working on a novel or poem.
So now does writing in my blog count? Because I think it should. Does scribbling scenes in my notebook that I never intend to use anywhere count? Yup, I think it should do.
It doesn’t matter what it is so long as you’re doing it, in my opinion.
As for the “I don’t feel like writing” part of it, I struggle with that quite a bit. I started working out a new story over the weekend. I don’t know if it’ll be a short story or something longer and more involved. It’s still just an idea at this point. I intended to write some more of it Sunday night, but it was a billion degrees in my apartment and the computer was hot. It was just a bunch of excuses because I didn’t feel like it. I just wanted to sit on the couch and zone out.
Plus there are the days you just don’t have ideas. Or you’re tired of what you’ve been writing. It’s why I started to dig out all the writing workbooks and prompts I own over the weekend. My intention was to find a prompt every day and write for 15-20 minutes on that prompt. But then laziness took over again last night and I couldn’t motivate myself.
I’ve found deadlines are a much bigger motivator for me than anything else. Perhaps that’s why I am such a good deadline reporter. Perhaps I should set up some deadlines to help motivate myself.
Do you try to write every day? What do you write? How do you motivate yourself? Leave a comment below.