If I Don’t Write Everyday, How Serious Am I?
I don’t write everyday. But you know what? I’m damn serious when it comes to writing.
I’ve never published a thing, so maybe it’s plain stupid of me to jump up on my e-soapbox and dare to contradict what is considered writer advice gold. After all, what do I know, really? But, I guess in the end, we have to all make our own path, for good or ill. Let me tell you a little about the one I’ve picked.
Like most of us out there, I write part time. I got work and I have family responsibilities. No, this isn’t going to be a sob story about how I don’t have time to write because of my obligations. In truth, I do have time. However, its little compared to the enormous amount of time it takes to be a good writer. We all know it takes a looooong time. We better use that time wisely.
I used to use that little precious time to write everyday. Too often I found myself writing just to hit my daily word quota. I’d keep clicking the word count: “How many more words do I got left? Gaawwd!”. I found the daily exercise wasn’t making me a better fiction writer. I was becoming a bean counter and though my writer’s journal was nice and full, I wasn’t producing works of fiction. Surely there’s a better way to focus the little time I got, I thought.
I think we are perhaps taking this often quoted advice too literally. I believe what we actually need to be doing is everything we can to become story-writing-machines. This does not necessarily equal writing everyday. It’s about planning and creating a strategy to create a finished product, it’s about proper time management, its about discipline, its about hitting our goals and objectives and—most of all—its about producing finished works of fiction. That’s really the bottom line isn’t it?
Let me give you a hypothetical. Let’s say I have an hour’s worth of time. I decide to sit down and write. Just like I’m supposed to. Yay me. I’ll be a writer in no-time. Ok, what should I write my story about?
You mean you don’t have a plan? Maybe it would be better for you to sit down for that hour and make an outline so you don’t waste a full hour spinning your wheels.
You don’t have an idea on what you want to write and can’t create an outline? Well, maybe it would better for you to spend time finding inspiration for what you are going to write about.
You mean you finished a story a month ago and still haven’t gone back and finished the edits for it? Maybe it would be better for you to go spend that hour making those changes and get that story out the door and actually become what you want to be: published.
See what I mean? Writing every day just because you are supposed to can become counter productive. I think it is far better to stick to a disciplined process that makes you produce works of fiction.
You can’t put the cart in front of the horse. For everything there is a season. A place for everything and everything in its place, etc. etc.
All my opinion in the end, of course. *Climbs off the soap box . . .*
WIP Update: I’m currently on my fourth short story since ceasing work on the Gideon Plan. I also resuscitated one I worked on about ten years ago. Three are in the queue to be critiqued by others. One is waiting one more pass before being critiqued. The fifth is, after today, in a rough draft stage. I’ve been crunching some numbers and according to my estimates I won’t have time to write any more new stories until the middle of December. I’ll soon be knee deep in corrections and second drafts for my first three stories. I wonder about that estimate (and hope its wrong, actually). We’ll see.