Thursday, January 26, 2017

Unpopular Opinion 2: I Don't Write Every Day



Hello Everyone!

Here's the thing: I don't write every day. Plus, I don't think everyone needs to write every day, either.

::gasp::
::shock::
::horror::

Whaaa...? 



Let me explain.

These past weeks, I have been particularly struggling with my WIP. Like most of you, my writerly friends, I have to deal with bouts of self-doubt, questioning my skills and talents, and wondering if I my WIP will ever be published. I thought that, with the plethora of advice online, I'd be able to hone my craft, build my platform, and draft new books every year.

Update: I am slower than molasses, and my craft seems like an agonizing uphill battle some days. 

I can't write every day. It's not that I "wait for inspiration to hit", or that I'm lazy (at least, that's what I keep telling myself). If I work towards a Word Count (WC) goal, mindlessly drumming away on my laptop or word processor, I burn out.

It took me nearly a year to realize that this was the case. All of 2016, the year I thought I'd get so much done, had me going through bursts of daily writing as many words as I could only to fizzle and not write anything of substance for months at a time. Sure, I was editing and revising, but it became more of a chore I dreaded than a job I wanted to pursue as a career. And forget about drafting anything new...the guilt I felt (and still sometimes feel) of not completing a project perfectly had my words stifled before they ever had a chance to make it onto a page.

At first, I thought I was just a super weird person. All of the blog posts and videos I had come across suggested listening to music for a few minutes or spending time in nature to have the creative juices roaring back. (And indeed, these self-care tips are important). But after all these things, the words still would not come. Surely, I must be self-caring wrong, no?

Then I reflected on some things:

1) I need to stop comparing myself to other writers and their journeys. 

AND

2) Everyone doesn't do the same job in the same way as everyone else in any other workplace environment. I need to allow myself time to find my own schedule that works for me. 

BUT

3) I also need to finish a project so that I can publish it as my ultimate first step in being a career author. I can't wade in the shallow end of the career pool because I am afraid of swimming. I have to get myself out of the mindset of, "Oh well ::shrugs::...I can't really fail if I never really tried."


And unlike Han, I can't just "whatever" things, save the day, get stuff done, and look cool while doing it. 

So, my goal became this: if I can't write every day (at least not yet), what sort of routine do I need to develop so that I don't burn out and avoid writing altogether?

Right now, it's to write during the working week, and take weekends off. I don't worry about WC, but I do try to write down a goal for the day that needs to be completed. I know I need routine and structure, and structuring my writing days as anyone else would a working day, seems to be paying off. Thank you, Twitter writing-fam, for helping me with this. Y'all rock.

If my daily goals are not directly related to my long-term goal of publishing this WIP, I am trying to re-evaluate them. And doing this — not writing every day has helped me to recharge and focus on other parts of my life that I can improve (what can I say...must be the INFJ in me).

In any case, I am still very, very much in the learning phase of all of this, but suffice it to say:

If you are like me and get burned out by things in the world only to be burned out by writing, then perhaps it's time to re-think about all the writing "advice" that doesn't serve you or help you to grow.

If you find that the outside world, interactions, and all the messy emotions that stem from it, are wearing you down, writing every day may wear you down even more. You may still think of your stories as problems that are in need of solutions in terms of plot, character development, story arcs etc. Facing the world's problems every day only to sit down and deal with more problems may be why you (and myself included) are prone to running out of creative juices. 

Of course, this advice, like all advice isn't for everyone. If writing a certain WC per day keeps you productive, then do it. Whatever positive thing you can do to keep your writing dreams alive is something I'm all for. 


What does your writing routine look like? Answer below or find me on Twitter. 

May your words be great and your pages many!





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