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The Importance Of Not Being Earnest All The Time

We hear time and time again about the importance of writing every day.

One of the keys to success as an author is the ability to get words on paper, even if it’s just a handful and even if you don’t want to, on a regular basis. The words can be drivel, gold, or somewhere in between, but the important part is to just write.

To a certain extent, I do agree. If you keep putting off what has to be done, time passes by and it gets easier to keep putting it off while the pressure to actually do it intensifies, therefore making you procrastinate more out of mind-numbing fear you’ll never get it done. (Think cleaning the bathroom or doing the laundry. Okay, maybe that’s just me.) It’s a vicious circle that is very hard to break out of.

On the other hand, if you leave it up to your muse to only write when you’re ‘feelin the word love’ you may never sit your butt down again. Being a free spirit and a writer is a tough gig. Make Love not War with Words may be your personal mantra, but it don’t make that word counter go up.

Where is the line? Is there a compromise between the anal-retentive task master and the free-willed love child? Can your name really be Steve Golden Moonbeam? Or Wispy Willow Smith?

Actually, it can be whatever you want it to be.

The magnificent thing about being a writer is that there are no right or wrong ways to do it. Your way may be cranking out 25,000 in a day, or 250 in a week. What really counts is that you’re pursuing your own writing goals. Do what it takes to make you feel successful, not what others tell you needs to be done in order to be a success.

Take time off, read a book (or ten), go for a walk, play with your kids, dogs, spouse. One of the beautiful things about writing is that no matter how long or short you’re away from it, it’s always right there, ready for you to pick up where you left off.

Remember, writing is a journey. Every day is its own adventure. And if you take the time to stop and smell the roses along the way, you’re not missing out on anything. Success rarely happens overnight, so in the meantime, enjoy the ride.

That’s what it’s about after all.
Lee Bross

Lee lives her happily ever after on the coast of Maine where she has written Tangled Webs, her historical YA debut, and fantasy YA books Fates and Chaos under pen name Lanie Bross. She also writes contemporary books for New Adult under the name L.E. Bross, debuting with Right Where You Are.

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  1. Very true. I've found I just can't maintain a pace of writing every day. There are too many other things in my life. But, some days I'll be able to sit and punch out words all day long.

    Truth is everyone has their own way of working. If you can find what works for you, then no point beating yourself up if it doesn't meet the ideal of writing every day.

    Different strokes, ya know?

  2. I really really really wish I could write 25,000 words a day... lol. Great post! :)

  3. I've only recently relaxed my "WRITE DAILY OR FAIL!" routine because I realised my imagination needed a break every now and then. Chilling with music rather than scribbling stuff down is really useful.

    I can push myself to write 4,000 a day when I have the time, but it's not very often.

  4. This rings so true for me...I find that the less structure I impose on myself, the more I get done. I think it's mainly a pressure thing: I don't want to feel like writing is something I have to do because, right now in my life, it isn't. It's something I WANT to do. I also find that a little distance at a time from my WIP helps me to process the story and get a better feeling of who the characters are and what their voices sound like. :)

  5. The writing every day advice has confused me for years. I could never do it, though I understand the message behind it - don't lose connection with your work. For me, first working full time, now working part time and being home with kids the rest of the 20 hrs in the day, writing every day is just not possible. But thinking about my WIP, visiting the world every day, that is possible. Sometimes while driving one sprog to school I think about it, sometimes while emptying the dishwasher or sorting socks. The connection to my wip throughout the day makes it much easier to 'jump' into writing on the days I can write. I've written one book and am 65K into another that way, so for me, it works.

  6. I liken writing to my day job. I do that for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. I NEED the break of evenings and weekends, so why was I pushing myself to write every spare minute of my time?

    I froze for weeks and weeks on a revision I needed to get done because I was so overwhelmed by the "have to." When I finally reminded myself that I didn't HAVE to, I WANTED to, the drive came back.

    And I'm not afraid to say I need a break anymore either. :)

  7. Stopping to smell the flowers today gives you something to write about tomorrow :)

  8. A friend and I have tried doing the 1K a day method.

    It doesn't always work. But it has gotten me in the habit of at least opening my word document almost every day. Sometimes I just get a sentence out before I realize it's not going to come out, but it's still one more sentence than I had :)

  9. This post is awesome... at first I was expecting some advice on when to a take a break or something, but instead I get enjoy it and do it your own way or what feels right. Exactly what I needed to hear!

  10. I write when I feel like it. If I don't write anything for days, then so be it. Forced writing is bad writing, and rewriting bad writing is really difficult. I'd rather just write something good the first time.

  11. I go in bursts, and it seems to work for me. So far, I've had a few externally imposed deadlines (even if they were mostly in my head), and I've found that I push hard when I really want to finish something and get it off my plate. After that, I may need a week or so off--filling my brain with other people's words, maybe, or finding the time to daydream or pursue the outside world. What I really love is when I've gone without writing long enough to miss it, to yearn for it in the middle of the day while I'm at my other job, to find myself forced to pull over the car and scribble the opening of a new book that came into my head when I told myself I was going to take a break between projects.

  12. Thanks for the reinforcement! I used to stress about this, too, that real writers write everyday. Then I found out Amy Hempel goes months without writing! Months!

    And Stephen King brought up a good point...that sometimes you have to let the boys in basement work on stuff. In other words, taking breaks and sleeping on it rather than stressing. So true, so true...

  13. I agree with everyone. This is a great post. For me the difference is writing every day versus the notion of writing "well" every day. By "well" I mean having to sound perfect and polished. Even if I write every day, there are some days when I feel that my writing sucks and I can't string two words together. When I finally give myself permission to suck, I find more freedom.


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