Written by JJ Barnes
Write every day is advice I see given quite regularly to aspiring writers. I’ll be exploring why this advice can work for you, why it might not, and what to do instead.
Why Write Every Day?
If writing isn’t a natural part of your daily routine, but you really want to write a book, it can feel hard to fit it in. We’re all living busy lives. We have responsibilities and pressures and other people we are beholden to. Writing can feel like an incredible indulgence that just doesn’t naturally fit into daily life.
If this sounds like you, then I want to tell you that writing isn’t an indulgence. It’s work and it’s effort, and it’s definitely worth it. If writing really matters to you, and you want to get your book out there, but life is fighting back, then force it. Even if it’s just ten minutes, take that time. Make your life, responsibilities and chores take a back seat. Just for a minute.
By forcing that time in daily, even if it is awkward at first, it will soon become natural. Your external pressures will get used to it. You will get used to it. At first it might feel hard and you may only get a couple of minutes done. You might write only one paragraph. But it will soon become easy. That’s your daily writing time. And you will use it to write.
Once you’re writing every day, your book will start to grow. Once you’re used to writing, it will get easier. You WILL accomplish your goal. You WILL write that book.
Why It’s Not Always Possible To Write Every Day
I don’t write every day. I would love to. But I can’t. And that is just something I have to accept about my life and my circumstances right now.
If you can’t force writing time into your daily life then being told to write every day can feel like a stick beating you. And that’s not the point. It should be a release. Effort and hard work, definitely, but like you’re finally letting your soul out into the world. If you cannot write every day, even if you really truly want to, then be kind to yourself.
Instead of writing every day, think about keeping a notebook. Either a literal notepad and pen, or a notes app on your phone. If you get an idea, a character or plot, note it down. If you have an interesting dream, note it down. A book title, personality, scary moment. Write it down. Then close the notebook. Don’t use that as an extra piece of punishment, just save it.
When you do get a chance to write, open it up and really look at everything you’ve got. If you’re anything like me, your brain is probably conjuring stories all the time. You just don’t always get a chance to do anything with them. But when the time does come, you’ll find your brain has already done loads of work.
You might not use all of them, you might not even use any of them. But that is a lot of creativity and story passion and it can inspire you. It will tell you that you CAN come up with stories, you CAN create interesting people and concepts. You CAN write your book. Just not always right now.
What’s The Right Balance?
Writing every day is fantastic. There’s time in my life when I have been able to. There’s time when I can’t. So look at yourself honestly.
Is the reason you’re not writing every day because you have a partner or a job or children or housework, things that don’t want to accommodate your needs? In that case, carve the time out. YOU matter. Your story matters, your voice matters, and you deserve that time. Give yourself just ten minutes. Make every body and every thing wait for you for just that time each day. And start writing. One line, one paragraph. A character bio. Anything you can. Start with just that ten minutes a day and see where you go from there. You deserve that time.
If the reason you’re not writing every day is bigger than that. Be kind to yourself. Use the time you cannot write to let your brain work in the background. Refill your creative energy on the creativity of others. Listen to music, watch films, read books. Whatever you can fit into your life that gives you a connection to creativity, embrace it.
I’m working too hard on too many things to write every day. But my brain absorbs creativity around me. It helps me keep that spark alive inside myself. So it could help you too. And, mostly, forgive yourself. Just because you’re not writing now doesn’t mean you always won’t write.
More From JJ Barnes:
I am an author, filmmaker, artist and youtuber, and I am the creator and editor of The Table Read.
You can find links to all my work and social media on my website: www.jjbarnes.co.uk
Buy my books: www.sirenstories.co.uk/books
Follow me on Twitter: @JudieannRose