Friday, November 19, 2010

Don't Write Everyday

Okay, so I'm going to dispel some possibly unpopular advice. You've heard/read out there that you have to write every day to be a "real writer." You should schedule some time every day to write, or you'll never get published. You have to treat it like a job.

I say: rubbish.

Let me explain before you start throwing Diet Coke cans or click that unfollow button.

The best thing I ever did was allow myself to NOT write every day. And let me tell you, I was much happier after I gave myself that very important permission.

I do not write every day (except for this month and NaNo). I have a scheduled time to write, but I often don't use it for actual writing. And if I treated writing like a job, I'd want to quit--or die. It's a toss-up.

The fact is, I have a day job. The last thing I want is to take writing--something I love and create and enjoy and smile about--to turn into a j-o-b. Are there aspects of writing I don't like? Yes. Am I focused on making myself into a career author? Yes.

But I do not think of writing as a job. People can crucify me on that if they want. If I thought about it like that, I would not do it. The end.

Writing is more than a job to me, and I treat it that way instead.

So there. I often only write on the weekends (when not NaNo-ing). So that's 2 days on, 5 days off. I often write whenever I can, regardless of a schedule. And I don't think of writing as a job.

So sue me. I've still written 13 books over a 3-year period (I just finished my WiP LAST NIGHT). I have a real, live book being published next year. If you don't want to call me a writer because I don't stick to a schedule, I don't write every day, and/or I don't treat my writing like a job, go right ahead.

You can call me an author instead. ;-)

What do you think? What have you read/heard that just makes you go, "Well, I don't do that, so I must be wrong/lame/stupid/not good enough."? Discard it. And you can totally tell me if I'm wrong if you want to. I am well-aware of the differences in this world, and what works for me might never work for you. I guess I'm just a little leery of such definitive statements as "You must write every day if you want to be a writer."

Oh, and I'll be gone next week, not blogging, not writing, but you know, LIVING. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

127 comments:

Amie Kaufman said...

I couldn't agree more. I have a full time job and I'm lucky enough to love it. If I gave myself two full time jobs, I'm sure I wouldn't enjoy either of them. So I write when it works for me, which is sometimes every spare minute, sometimes a couple of days a week. The result is that I really love what I'm doing. Instead of feeling that I have to write, I feel like I want to write. And there's no better feeling in the world than getting to sit down to your keyboard when you're dying to write.

Jessica Bell said...

I don't write every day. Nor do I have a writing schedule. I sit down to write when I feel like it. (except now I need to kinda force it because I'm on a dealine, but that's different. Even still I don't do it every day.) I write better when I give my brain a break from it. It's quality not quantity, folk. People gotta remember that. And writers should try to achieve that any way they feel best to handle it.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I don't want to sue you. I want to say thank you. I can't write every day because of work and all the things I do for my daughter. It would take the joy out of writing and totally stress me if I HAD to write everyday. Thanks for saying it's okay not to. And have a great Thanksgiving.

Jeffrey Beesler said...

I don't write every day because of a feeling of obligation like to a job, but rather because I want to. Some days I do tend to write a little less than others. But I've gone 32 years of my life with this skill that I need to nurture or else it'll go to waste. I've got to make the most of my time that I'm given.

You do have excellent points, however, and perhaps I can incorporate that giving myself a day off here and there into my writing life.

Jemi Fraser said...

Yay - I'm not alone!! I love writing - and refuse to feel obligated to follow someone else's schedule and routine demands. Drives me nuts when people say 'you have to' or 'you must'!

Congrats on finishing the wip!!! :)

Teresa aka JW said...

How can you be wrong? It works for you.

I usually write every day, and am not published yet. Hmm, maybe I'll TRY the other way and see if....

Have a great Thanksgiving!!

Lisa Potts said...

I don't write every day either. If I didn't work full time or have kids I probably STILL wouldn't, well maybe, but that's just not going to change so I'll never actually find out. (If I hit the lottery I'll keep you posted.)

Renae said...

I don't follow a set schedule either. I write when ideas come and when I have time. Some days it's next to nothing and others, I write an entire chapter or two. Great advice!

The Golden Eagle said...

I try to write every day, although not because I saw advice that it was a good idea. (I hardly ever follow writing advice.)

I just find that any writing at all stimulates ideas, and if I do it every day I get a lot done.

Congrats on finishing your WIP!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I don't write every day and I sure as hell don't have a schedule! However, I will admit NaNo has really motivated me and I'm enjoying spending a couple hours with my current project. Then again, I think my wife would kill me if I did that every day. Besides, it really cuts into my game playing time!

A. Grey said...

I love you for this post.

I cannot tell you how many arguments I've had with people who know nothing about writing and only want me to succeed about 'writing every single day'. They seem to think that since people like Stephen King are prolific, and well off enough to write full time, that they write every single day without fail. And they seem to think that 'real writers' MAKE time for writing and never let anything interrupt that time. Ever.

Do I WANT to write every day? Um, usually, unless I just don't feel like it. And it's okay not to feel like it (another argument, apparently according to people who don't write, you're supposed to have an on/off switch somewhere) because to me, if you force your writing - I mean really force it - it sucks the joy out of everything. That's precisely why I gave up a scholarship to art school. 7 hours of class every day, with a minimum of an hour of homework for every class. Way too much 'produce anything so long as you produce something' for me.

Mary said...

I tend to go in spurts where I write almost everyday, to weeks when I write two-four days. For NaNo I've written everyday (except yesterday-- I've been sick and needed a break).

Glad to hear you finished your WiP (still redoing mine!)

Enjoy yourself next week, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Emily White said...

If I felt I HAD to write everyday, I might shoot myself. I write most days (not all) because I like doing it, not because I feel I *have* to do it.

Actually, I'm really happy to hear you still don't treat writing like a job even with having an agent and a book coming out. I've been worried that if I do get to that point that the joy of writing might be lost.

Great post, Elana! :D

Kerri C at CK Farm said...

The best thing about writing is I'm my own boss. I make my own schedule. The only person who can fire me is ME :)

Btw I take Friday off lol.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I love to write fiction so I do try to do it every day (editing is included here). Sometimes it doesn't happen. Like when I went away on vacation last week. Once upon a time that would have stressed me out. Not anymore. It just meant I was really excited to get started again when I got back home.

I can't believe how fast you write first drafts. I'm expecting to take another month, but other things (like blogging) keep getting in the way.

lynnrush said...

YAY, you finished your WiP last night? That's fantastic.

Yeah, you're obviously doing something right in how you run your schedule in regards to writing. This is an interesting take on the daily writing thing.

I'm of the write-daily-persuasion. It helps me stay in the flow of things. I actually feel a little weird if I don't write every day or at least do some revising. LOL.

But hey, that's what works for me. *smile*

Hey, you have a great Thanksgiving. Enjoy your time away.

Janna Qualman said...

I stand behind you, Elana. It works best this way for me, too.

Go us!

Joanna St. James said...

I dont write everyday I am too undisciplined to follow rules. I think the motive behind this advice is that practice makes perfect and that works for SOME people not all of us.

Kittie Howard said...

I'm rather new to writing (as a designate) and, to be honest, have given considerable thought as to why I should write everyday. I mean, this is a craft, not a job. Dropped a few heartfelt comments to bloggers who said they were in meltdown because they couldn't pump out the words each day (that it was okay, I thought, to take a break) but without your established reputation, I think my words fell flat. So, I am most happy to know that you think writing everyday is 'rubbish'. My older life experience wishes more established authors like you would speak out. No sense for anyone to burn out doing what he/she loves!

Thanks for a great post!!!

Wendy Paine Miller said...

I agree.

I write five to six days a week. If I wrote every day I'm certain I'd have to shovel through a lot more crap come time to edit.

Hey, need advice on my blog today and since you are blog guru I'm curious what you'd say.

~ Wendy

B.E. Sanderson said...

I try to do something writerly every day. Depending on where I'm at in a project, it's writing or editing or querying. Sometimes it's just working out plot snags in my head. But that's how I approach writing. It works for me - someone else's mileage may vary.

13 books in 3 years? You go girl. If that isn't writing, I don't know what is. Sounds like your way of writing is working awesome for you. =o) Have a great holiday week!

Megan K. Bickel said...

Agreed! If I wrote picture book stuff everyday I'd have 75 drafts of the same book and not know where to go from there. I'm focusing on improving my writing, not churning out more for the sake of more. And to get a good revision out of myself, I have to let it stew for a while.

Matthew Rush said...

Rules schmules. I don't follow any of em. But it's nice to know that you don't either. And I love when you say writing is more than a job. That's exactly how I feel.

Enjoy your break Elana!

Laura Pauling said...

I don't write fresh every day, for sure. But I usually do something whether it be revising, editing, query/synopsis work or critting for a friend or just reading. And weekend is when I get the least amount done because I have to focus on my family. And then my husband makes all these social plans that I have to go to. :)

Laura Pauling said...

I don't write fresh every day, for sure. But I usually do something whether it be revising, editing, query/synopsis work or critting for a friend or just reading. And weekend is when I get the least amount done because I have to focus on my family. And then my husband makes all these social plans that I have to go to. :)

Kristi Faith said...

Love, love this post!! Elana, there are times I wonder if you are the cool sister my mom never told me about!! ;) I don't write every day and have been pounding myself with guilt (which doesn't help the creative process) that I don't.

Thank you for putting it out there.

Marisa Hopkins said...

Ooooh, I am so glad I read this!! I am only just learning now that my brain needs a break from writing every now and again (like, frequently) or else I go nuts and write drivel that I delete anyway. But when I take a break, and let the words simmer for a short while, getting them right is SO much easier than when I don't!

Awesome post, Elana!

VR Barkowski said...

You don't write everyday? Elana, you're such a rebel!

I don't work on my WIP everyday, but I do write *something* everyday, even if it's an email (or ten) or a blog comment (or ten). I agree, forcing oneself to write may teach discipline, but it zaps the joy. Nor do I think writing everyday makes one a better writer. I've learned much more about writing from editing my work, critiquing others, and above all else READING.

CONGRATS on the completed WIP!!!

Julie said...

I write every day and have for about two and a half years. But. I don't do it because people say you should. I don't do it because the story well will run if I don't. I don't do it because you have to treat writing like a job. I do it because the time I spend writing is the best part of my day. I love it. There's wonder there. There's power to transcend reality. Writing is when I purely connect to myself and so I do it every day. If for one second I felt it was a duty/obligation instead of a gift, I'd be taking some time off. At some point I might anyway, but for right now, writing every day suits me. I sometimes get grumbly before I sit down, thinking of other things I need to do, but that fades away too quickly to be considered. I guess, to me, we all must follow our own writing bliss and do what works and leave the rest. Great post!

Moonwillow said...

My sentiments exactly....I need inspiration to write and sometimes it's just not there. I hate feeling forced to write. It reminds me of those days in high school when we had to write essays on topics that didn't interest me in the least.

Indigo said...

I tried the whole butt in chair and make sure you have a certain word count each and every day mind-set. What actually worked? The complete opposite. I write when I want to, however long I want, and it most certainly isn't every day.

I also found my words flow better. If you lose the enjoyment of writing, you lost a huge reason to write. (Hugs)Indigo

lotusgirl said...

It's nice to hear someone being published say that. I can't always write every day. Often I will choose not to write and spend time with my family instead. I've set aside Sunday as a day that I don't write. I think we all need time away from writing. Job or not.

Jan Cline said...

Yes, yes, yes. When I read the kind of advice you spoke of, to write every single day, I think to myself, "who makes their bed and does their laundry?" I do write a lot, but there are many days in the month I do not - and I refuse to feel as though Im not a real writer because of it. Congrats on your book coming out and good for you for your balanced life.
Jan
www.inwchristianwriters.webs.com

Meredith said...

So good to hear I'm not the only one who doesn't feel the overwhelming need to write every day! I usually do, but there are just some days where I want to take a break and watch bad TV and hang out with friends. Life is a balancing act, even though writing is the best thing ever.

Melissa Sarno said...

I'm with you Elana. I used to beat myself up for not writing every day. I call it writer's guilt, this constant feeling of 'I SHOULD be writing' but I never want writing feel like a job or a chore. There are always things that make me feel like I'm not a 'real' writer. The fact that you've written 13 novels in 3 years is unbelievable. It takes me about 1.5 years to write 1 novel. It's that painfully slow. Every time I see people like you writing at such a quick pace, it makes me feel incompetent! But I'm learning to just accept who I am as a writer and if that means, slow as a turtle, so be it!

LTM said...

I couldn't agree more, Elana! This is a great post about loving the writing. That's what shows in the enthusiasm of the work. And congrats on finishing Lucky #13! :o)

Kelly said...

Yay! Congrats on finishing your wip yesterday (I did too!!!)!
And I don't write every day either. I feel it will become a chore instead of something I love doing if I forced myself to write daily. I even take week breaks but I always am excited to get back to it. I don't want to lose the passion I have for it by making it mandatory.

Andrea Mack said...

Wow! 13 books in 3 years? That is totally awesome. Congrats on finishing your WIP!!

For me, I do find it helps if I write regularly, because otherwise the threads of my story get swallowed up in churning mess of work/home/life things that are in my mind. But that's mean. What works for me isn't necessarily going to work for someone else.
You have to do what works for you.

Trisha Wolfe said...

So very Awesome you finished your WIP =) Congrats! I'm pretty much with you on this, and I still call myself a writer. I find that I spend a good amount of time day dreaming about my characters, scenes, and ideas. And then I hit the keys. I write when I'm excited about a scene and just have to get it down. I take time off, but am almost always thinking about my WIP while not writing. And I spend much, much time editing, so I still count that as writing time also ;) Thanks for this, it's great to hear someone else feels the same.

Tina Lynn said...

You are so right. NaNo has taught me something very important though since I *have* to write every day, and that is this: When you get stuck there's no better way to get unstuck than to push through it. I've gotten stuck so many times in this NaNo WIP, but since I've been pushing through each blockage I haven't gotten held up at all. Still keeping up. Two days ahead really! Woot! Great post! Muah!

Jamie - I'm a guy, btw! said...

Oh thank you, thank you, thank you! This is probably the best piece of advice I've seen as far as writing goes. For us "day jobbers" out there, we need to remember that writing is NOT our full-time job...yet. So we don't HAVE to treat it that way. And I'm like you: If I turn it into a J-O-B, then that's what it becomes...a J-O-B. And we all know that nobody likes those!

Thanks again for this pep talk today...you rock!

Amparo Ortiz said...

A. Freakin'. Men.

I don't write every day, either. It would make me pick up my laptop, throw it across the room, and seriously injure another person, which I believe is frowned upon in some countries. Epic fail :D

Congrats on finishing the WIP!!!

Lydia Kang said...

Have a great Thanksgiving! And kudos to you for following your own schedule, not any one else's.
:)

Mary Campbell said...

Actually this post gives me tremendous relief. Maybe that's my problem. I've been trying to treat writing like a job and I hate working so it's ruining writing for me. Thank you Elana.

Alicia Gregoire said...

I try to write every day because otherwise I'm sitting on my keister being useless, but when my head's just not into writing that day, I don't. I do think you make a good point thought about how you don't want to make this a j-o-b.

Carolyn Abiad said...

I (try to)write five days a week.
What have I heard that makes me go "I don't think so?":
Stephen King says not to keep a notebook - because then you immortalize the bad ideas. Darwinian effect is better for your work he says... I say: If I don't keep a notebook, I won't have ANY ideas when I sit down because I have too many distractions (children/husband). No door on my office, etc... The notebook is the place I jot down all of my ideas (when I can't get to a compter) and then the Darwinian part takes over, because not all of it makes the MS.

Congrats on finishing your WIP!

Liza said...

How ever you schedule it, time off is critical...otherwise burn out looms...even with writing.

Angela Ackerman said...

Well put, Elana. People should do whatever works for them. Clearly this works for you!

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

Lisa_Gibson said...

I think you ROCK for standing up (well, you were probably sitting down when you wrote it) and saying that outloud!
I once had someone tell me that in order to take this 'seriously' I needed to at least log several hours each day.
I'm a single mom who works full time. I decided that I wouldn't let anyone tell me I wasn't serious enough or real enough or anything else. I write what I can when it moves me to do so and that's just that. :)
Happy Thanksgiving to you too!
Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

kellyhashway said...

I do something writing related everyday. I consider reading in the genre I'm writing research for my craft. So that totally counts. Also, revising, blogging, researching agents and publishers, social networking...they're all writing related. So if I'm not actually writing, I'm doing one of those other things. I think they're all important.

kellyhashway said...

I do something writing related everyday. I consider reading in the genre I'm writing research for my craft. So that totally counts. Also, revising, blogging, researching agents and publishers, social networking...they're all writing related. So if I'm not actually writing, I'm doing one of those other things. I think they're all important.

lexcade said...

Thanks for this, Elana. Way too often, we try to think of what we should be doing or have to be doing where writing's concerned. we have to be constantly engorged with words and if we're not, then we're not real writers and we're never going to get published.

I CAN'T write every day. My brain needs time to rest. Sometimes I'm just not productive. Often I get distracted. I'm glad to know that someone who has written as many books as you have, who's getting a wonderful book published, didn't slave away while writing them. I know you enjoyed the ride, and that's more important. Like you said, you already have a job. Why make something you're passionate about into something as blase as work?

Kudos! If you had karma here, I'd give you 100.

Margo Gremmler said...

Elana, I think you're living in my brain this week.

First, the revising in layers post, then the "awesome boosters," and now this! I only write fiction two days per week as well. :))

Jennifer Hoffine said...

Yay, on finishing your WIP!

And yay for standing up to this typical and erroneous writing advice...the writing process is not one size fits all. While this "keep writing, make a schedule" stuff may help some it can be a hindrance to others.

Sometimes my life requires allowing for some ebb and flow to my work, and sometimes my story requires it.

The key, I think, is to keep moving forward with your writing in whatever ways work for you.

RaShelle said...

Elana, dude - you're going to be LIVING next week? Whoa! =D Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

As for the writing every day rule - I think it's more about having a schedule - for me. Every person has to find what works for them.

Carol Riggs said...

Wooo! congratz for finishing your WiP last night! As far as writing everyday, I've had to relax about that, especially on my last WiP. Other things in life have been more pressing the last few months. And that's okay!

But actually, I start to feel ANTSY and like something's not quiiiiite right if I don't write. I love doing it; it's usually nothing I have to force myself to do. Nah, don't call it a "job"--that takes the fun out of it! LOL

Bethany Wiggins said...

I absolutely agree with this post. IF there isn't balance, writing becomes overwhelming! And there have got to be other priorities in life if you want a healthy balance. Like family. And staying physically healthy. The brain's awesome. It won't lose a story if you don't write it down ASAP--in fact, the mind seems to delve deeper into a story if you sit on it, like a good bottle of wine... so I've heard. More like a good cheese.

Lovely post, darling.

Shari said...

I LOVE what you said about writing being more than a job. I like to think of it as a career. I'm glad to know that if I don't write every day I'm not a loser.

Heather said...

That's a fabulous way to put it, "writing is more than a job." It is and it should be! I don't write every day either, though I do have strict write goals five days out of the week. My muse needs time off too!

Caroline Starr Rose said...

It was very freeing to realize I didn't have to write daily to really be an author. Some days I research, some days I revise, some days I read, some days I don't do anything.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Congrats on finishing your WIP!

I can't even manage to write every day during Nano. But I think it's awesome that I can find time to write with my little ones. Writing every day may work for some, but it would cause me too much stress and anxiety to even try that, and it's not worthwhile for me. I write when I can, that's the bottom line.

Sara B. Larson said...

I say whatever works! And wow, you finished?? Yay! congrats. That's so awesome. What's this one about?

I hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy your week. :)

Marsha Sigman said...

You soooo rock! I read a blog post the other day where the question was whether writing was a hobby or a job to you? It was really hard for me to answer that because it's not a job (that implies early mornings and doing things I don't want to do) and it is so much more than a hobby.

I don't play at writing, but I enjoy it too much for it to be called work. I don't write every single day but I definitely think about what I'm writing every day and scribble notes to myself most of the time.

Shannon Whitney Messenger said...

Yay--congrats on finishing!!!!!!!!!!!! *tosses confetti*

I think for me, I can't FORCE writing. I do try to write every day, but sometimes what I'm writing are blog posts or brainstorming or notes on my CPs pages. I may not always work on my draft. I have to be in the mood. Otherwise, I'm with you, I'll start to hate it.

Also: 13 books???? Um...wow. *slinks away as the underachiever of the century*

Elana Johnson said...

Thank you all for the congrats on finishing the WiP! I still have many things to do, but you know. Polishing is different than drafting.

And I'm so glad that I haven't been chewed up and spat out yet. You guys rock!

I really think it's all about discovering what works for you personally, and then embracing that.

Krispy said...

Congrats on finishing your WIP!

I think the whole writing = job or write every day thing are blanket statements intended to help "serious" writers prioritize the writing and treat it with discipline. But yeah, you should go with what works for you, and I don't think we should ever, ever lose the fun in writing.

An early Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

kathrynjankowski said...

Having left my job to pursue writing full-time, I feel obligated to do something writing-related every day.

Of course, since I believe every part of one's life contributes to the writing process, it doesn't matter if I take a break from my WIP now and then. But I never stay away for long because I enjoy it too much.

Have a great holiday break! ;-)

Katie Ganshert said...

Love this Elana. A very freeing post!

When I'm writing the rough draft, I do try to make sure I'm writing every day. But even so, it doesn't feel like a job. I enjoy it. I need the every day thing to keep me motivated and on track.

I love the cliche - to each his own. We're all different. What works for me, doesn't have to be what "should" work for others.

Catherine West said...

Well, I'm delighted. Firstly because this is a great blog and it's lovely to meet you, Elana, and secondly because I agree wholeheartedly. When I get to the point where I'm stalling on a wip, bored with it and just can't be bothered anymore, I do take a day off. I read. Do other stuff. Catch up on blogs. It's so worth it when the idea comes creeping home again and you can grab it and run with it.
Happy Thanksgiving to you!

Janet Johnson said...

Well honestly, I'm not so surprised. You turn almost everything on its head, which is why we all love you. No, I don't write every day. I'd go crazy, too.

And wow . . . 13 books in 3 years?! You keep dropping these little bombs that put me in awe. Amazing.

Colene Murphy said...

What amazingly wonderful awesome advice. I needed it. Reading about how you should write every day and treat is like a job all over the place really gets me down. I hate jobs. I love writing. I don't ever want to hate writing too! Thank you.

Holly Ruggiero said...

BEST POST EVER! It’s impossible to write every day. I think even if it were my fulltime job, I still couldn’t do it. It’s a creative process and needs time to stew. Actually, I loved hearing that you only write mostly on the weekends.

L.T. Elliot said...

The thing I like most about this post is the fact that you're just being you and telling us what works for you. It isn't for everyone but it's freeing because it's okay to state "This is me--and I'm cool with that."

I need more "cool with that" when it comes to my style.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Yes! Some days, the writing just doesn't come or it doesn't feel good or I just plain don't want to... And that's okay. It's healthier for us (and our WIPs) to take breaks when we need them, rather than forcing it. Then, it just isn't fun anymore. :-)

Amber Argyle said...

I usually try to write everyday. But lately, it just isn't working. I've got a book coming out to, and I'm working so hard on the marketing, editing, etc. that my writing time is shot.

I think I'm going to take your advice and write for 4-5 hrs on Sat.

Do you write on Sunday?

John Sankovich said...

I have to agree, but I usually try to write 4 days a week. Usually Monday, tuesday, Wednesday, then Saturday, but if not Saturday, I write Thursday. So I don't have a set schedule, but I guess I've written 5 screenplays, 3 novellas, and 3 novels in 14 years. Not bad, but still you kick butt writing 13 books in 3 years. It usually takes me 3-6 months for a first draft and then another 3 months for a polish. Sometimes fasters, sometimes slower. Good for you Elana.

Nicole L Rivera said...

Whatever works is my answer. Every writer has there own groove. I don't have a day job so I do write everyday, but that doesn't mean everyone should. I enjoy getting lost in my story world and creating everyday but I don't have kids or a job to worry about right now, so thats probably why. If I didn't write what would I do? Watch TV all day? Read a book a day (ok - I can do that)? Clean? *Gasp* I figured I have this time in my life to write distraction free so I'm taking it, but everyone has to make that choice for themselves. It is obviously working for you to write twice a week. I'm writing seven days, been doing this for a year and a half, I'm on my fourth manuscript, and I don't have a deal yet. Long story short -- choose whats comfortable and go with it. No two have to write the same way. Happy Thanksgiving :)

Shayda Bakhshi said...

I think it's so important for us to think of writing as a way of life--you don't schedule time for living; you just live.

Same with writing.

Great post!

Donea Lee said...

YES! Thank you!! This gives me hope! I, too, work a full-time job and as much as I'd love writing to be my full-time job, it's just not...for now. I write when I'm inspired. I try to write when I'm not. I have absolutely no writing schedule of any kind. But, I don't want to view it as "work". I prefer to view writing as a wonderful escape. And if it turns into something else? Bonus! Thanks, Elana. Hope you have a fabulous Thanksgiving, too!

Chris Phillips said...

Good perspective.

Michael Winchell said...

Great point. And I agree. I am a teacher by day, and I don't write every day. My obsessiveness won't let me do that. When I get going, I can't stop. I write until it's "out" and that means I CAN'T have a routine schedule, like say an hour a day or the like. More often, what happens is I start a chapter and my butt ain't getting up until it's done. Even if I end up writing full time, I won't be an every day-er. I'll be more likely to set aside a large chunk of time, like say a month, and write that baby til it's done. Then I'll take a little breather before going on to the next project. Great post!

Anita Saxena said...

I 100% agree with you.

tahlianewland.com said...

I write when I'm inspired and have a note in the back of my mind that reminds me of any time schedule I might have.

tahlianewland.com said...

I write when I'm inspired and have a note in the back of my mind that reminds me of any time schedule I might have.

Em-Musing said...

Writing is fun and flows for me. NaNo though is challenging. Getting published and marketing . . . now that's the work part.

Corey Schwartz said...

I'm totally with you (as usual:) I purposely never created a blog post schedule for that very reason. As soon as I have "have to" do something, it is no longer fun for me!

Botanist said...

Well, I totally agree with you, but to be honest I've always had a very different take on what that phrase means.

The way you talk about it here, it is as a definition. Unless you write every day you cannot call yourself a writer.

I agree: rubbish.

But I've never regarded it as a definition. I've only ever taken it as advice to help (some) people get past some motivational issues. Thing is, there are some (many? maybe including me?) people out there liable to find themselves drifting, and without a stated goal or schedule they are more likely to end up never actually writing. So, as a piece of advice to certain people, I think it has its uses.

Theresa Milstein said...

You are so right. I agree. It had to be said. If it works for some people (like Kate DiCamillo) to write everyday, more power to her. She's prolific. I write in spurts.

When I'm not writing, I'm often editing. But I count writing blog posts too because I still am exercising some creativity. I don't like to go too long without any writing, but I don't want that kind of pressure either.

Your stats - 13 books in 3 years - show that you don't need to write everyday and still write a lot.

Have a great weekend.

Heather Eagar said...

I LOVE this post. I get down on myself because I don't write as often as I like. I have a kid, I work full time, I'm busy busy busy. And then when I do write I'm stressed because I want to write as much as humanly possible because I haven't written for several days. Stress cannot co-exist with good, creative writing. Blah. Thanks for your thoughts

G.~ said...

Thank you for that Elana.

I used to write everyday and HATED it! I had to stop completely. I thought that it wasn't what I was meant to do because I felt that way.

I enrolled in school full time and am now working on a degree. Not a bad thing, but as a result I can not stop thinking about the book that I stopped writing. I am excited to pick it up again and made a silent agreement with myself that I would write whenever I wanted and I would never put myself on a schedule like that again.

There are plenty of rules that I no longer follow and am much happier because of it.

Thank you for your honesty.

Lenny Lee* said...

hi miss elana! wow you sure got a zillion comments on that post! did you see mostly people said your right! how cool is that! for me writing is a thing i love doing but i love swimming and playing baseball and computer games a some of school and just doing stuff with my brothers or my sister. so mostly i write just when i could feel like it. some time i gotta plan it a little cause of sharing out our computer. but mostly some one says ok you could use it if im really feeling like writing stuff. loving doing lots of stuff is cool for sure.
...hugs from lenny

Jamie Burch said...

THANK YOU!!! That one always drives me crazy. There are so many mundane things I feel that I 'have' to do. I don't like to put writing into that category.

Congrats to you and Happy Thanksgiving!

Debbie Curran said...

Great post. 'You can call me an author instead' - love that! I think we all need to respect that we have to find our own way... and obviously, you have. :)

Jan Markley said...

I often only write on weekends because of my day job. And I have two published books and a third one I progress. Everyone has to find what works for their schedule!

Jan Rider Newman said...

No such thing as one-size-fits-all. If 13 books in 3 years and 1 in the publishing pipe doesn't prove that, I don't know what does.

Liesl said...

Ameeeeeen! I really think taking days off actually helps my writing. I have more productive writing periods if I allow some of those ideas and plot turns to simmer a bit.

I do, however, think about my stories every day and often jot down little notes, but that's more of a tick than a conscious habit.

ajkulig said...

I think it really depends on the type of person you are. I schedule time to write everyday, not because I view it as a job, but because I *like* having a schedule. If I don't have a schedule, I tend to spend far too much time worrying about the fact that I don't have a schedule. Also writing is a bit of an escape like me, if I didn't have it everyday I'd go mad. But I rather enjoy people dispelling popular beliefs when it comes to writing ;)

Joanne Fritz said...

Thanks, Elana. And yay! Obviously, a lot of people appreciated hearing this, because I'm commenter #98.

Writing should never be a chore. All we can do is what works for us. It just takes some of us longer to figure out that method. :)

Tristi Pinkston said...

Diet Coke? What good is Diet Coke? Go Classic!

Nichole Giles said...

Awesome new header. And thank goodness you said this, since today I spent the ENTIRE day cleaning and putting up holiday decor, and have not written a word on my WIP.

But I admit, I don't write every day either, even though I often try.

Nichole Giles said...

Awesome new header. And thank goodness you said this, since today I spent the ENTIRE day cleaning and putting up holiday decor, and have not written a word on my WIP.

But I admit, I don't write every day either, even though I often try.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

LOL! No problem! Not writing every day. Actually haven't written in months. Is that a problem?

Pam Torres said...

First, I really like your new header and background, just like your book cover.

What do you mean you don't write everyday? If you mean picking up a pen and paper or sitting in front of the computer pounding on a keyboard then OK, I'll buy that. But being a writer is way more than that. Being a writer is a way of looking at the world, a unique way of perceiving dialogue, emotion, visual and sensory experiences. I can't drive down the road, wash a dish or vacuum a floor without finding myself piecing together a scene, conversation or even just a feeling. A writer is always writing in their mind, often unconsciously. :)

Matthew Rush said...

I realize you're not posting this week, but I just wanted to mention that I love that new graphic across the top. It is new right? Or have I just been paying to much attention to your words?

lbdiamond said...

I'm late to the game, but wanted to toss in my two cents.

I think it's impossible to write daily--especially when I put 45-50 hours in at the day job and then some (when on call). Then, there's, like, life and stuff.

So, I agree with you. I don't write every day and I can't beat myself up about it.

On another note:

LOVE THE NEW LOOK!!!!!!! :D

Jen Chandler said...

No cans thrown from this corner, diet or otherwise!

I agree 100%! I simply can't write every day. Some days, the well is dry, others, LIFE gets in the way as it will (and sometimes should).

We are writers because we write, because we love words, not because we stick to rigid schedules and regimes. Geez, the last thing I need to another job (I'm ready to give the one I have away!!). Writing is my passion. There is a difference and that's how it's going to stay. Even when it's my day job ;)

LOVE the new look, by the way! Have a fabulous Thanksgiving and enjoy yourself.

~Jen

Jolene Perry said...

Totally me too. Writing is the fun thing I get to do. 8 books and 14 months later, I'm still waiting to feel the excitement of polishing something to send in - JUST started query process. I do it because it's fun, because it's a better escape than reading could ever be. As soon as I write like a job, I wouldn't enjoy it anymore.
Thanks. Enjoy your week!

Kristen Knight said...

AMEN! To everything you said. Trying to write everyday shuts down my muse. PS - Love the new look of your blog.

Michelle McLean said...

I do try to treat it like a job, in that I try to write every day, M-F and take the evenings and weekends off. But then, my "day job" consists of editing jobs that aren't consistent, so I have the time to do this. Plus, I'm pretty easy on myself when I need to be LOL Life gets in the way. I don't beat myself when it does (or I try not to anyway).

LOVE the new look!!

Paul Greci said...

I think you do what works for you and you keep in mind that what works for you in the present may not work for you in the future. I do treat writing as a job but not in a negative way. I don't punch a clock; I don't write everyday. I just took a week off. The way I treat it as a job, well, I resigned from my teaching job to give full-time writing a try. So most days I do spend several hours at the keyboard. I'm pretty self-disciplined about it. I'm not sure if I'll always be a full-time writer but I'm enjoying the journey right now. :-) Thanks Elana!

Claire Dawn said...

I actually think I'm going to try writing every day next year.

My thing is that nothing works for me forever, and I don't write nearly enough. So maybe writing everyday will do me well for a while :)

Lois D. Brown said...

What a great post to remind us we're all human and don't exist the same way. I'm with you. I look at the week and at what days I will and won't be writing. Then, on the days that I don't write I don't feel guilty because I'd already planned for a break. I hate guilt. It does nothing for writer's block.

Alisa M. Libby said...

Thank you for this post! I'm an author and I don't write everyday, for a variety of reasons: I have a day job, I need time to read, and if I'm just not inspired then it's better to let an idea percolate for a while. I consider writing my career, my vocation, the thing I love that I was always meant to do...not my "job."

Well done,
:)Alisa

Regina said...

Thanks for the wonderful post. I would never unfollow over something like that.

Have a great and Happy Thanksgiving holiday. Best wishes.

Jamie Burch said...

LOVE the new look here!

Kate said...

Thank you for stopping by my blog! Possession looks like a wonderful dystopian story and I can't wait to read it.

Kate @ Literary Explorations

Jill Kemerer said...

Woo-hoo! You tell 'em! One reason I love writing is the flexibility. It just fits my personality!

Have a wonderful holiday!

Josh Hoyt said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you as well!!

Medeia Sharif said...

I don't write every single day. I hate forcing myself to write and I do have a day job and other things to do. I write here and there until a book gets done.

kangaroobee said...

Write when you can/when you are inspired. Great advice. And what an amazing feat, all those books in such a short time. Well done you.

I write every day at the moment, but haven't always done and would never force myself to if I didn't feel like it. I'm naughty though I wrote straight after dinner yesterday when the kids were stil finishing up. I wrote ideas down in the car with family and friends on the way to Cirque du Soleil. Maybe I need help :)

notesfromnadir said...

You do have a point in that not all writers can write every single day [or night] of the week. There are other things that can get in the way! The most important thing to do is write as much as you can when you can. Some people might clock in 10 hours of writing a day but that'll be it for a few days. Others write 6 or 7 days a week for 15 minutes at a time. Whatever works.

I'm also impressed to read that you've written 13 books in 3 years!

Amelia Robinson said...

Ah ha! I must thank you for providing me with the necessary ammunition to explain, once and for all, to my father that I do NOT need to write every day. So that he'll believe me when I say, "If I treat it like a job, I won't want to do it and since I love writing, I don't want that to happen."

So. Many thanks. :)

Since school is basically like a day job except there aren't any cool benefits involved (like money, for instance) I can't really write during the week. Course, that doesn't mean I don't work on my book. It's always playing a little jig in my head and I think about the plot holes and my favorite scenes when I'm trying to fall asleep at night. And the books I'm reading at the time always inspire something in me and that always goes towards my book.

Great post. :) I agree whole heartedly.

-Amelia

Katie Anderson said...

Thanks for following me Elana! Some great points in this post - NaNo aside, I often only write at the weekends too. I think it's best not to beat yourself up too much about these things.

Julie Musil said...

Yay for reality! Yes, when I first heard this every day thing, I figured I wasn't cut out for this writing thing. But why turn something I love into something I dread? No thanks. I love writing more because I don't write every day.

I could live here at your blog. Seriously.

TheCreativeMrsK said...

Elana, your genius washes over me like the warm comforting shower that I refuse to get out of. You are too right, and I love that you are an author who embraces the reality of life, and refuses to let your passion get stifled in work. You are definitely an inspiration!

Ghenet said...

I'm late to comment on this post, but I just found your blog. :)

This post was so refreshing! As someone with a full time day job, I often feel guilty that I can't write everyday. It's nice to hear that I don't have to. I'm very impressed that you've been able to write 13 books in 3 years. Go you!

Jo said...

Yes!

I wrote my first published book on Thursday mornings - the only time I could get off my day job.

Writing every day would make it a chore. Bottom line - we each need to find our OWN WAY to skin our writing cats ;)

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