There is a constant discussion going around that writers must write every day.
Many writers are bucking against this advice from many other writers. Here are my thoughts on this.
If your job is to write for a magazine, newspaper, website, column, etc., then yes, you more than likely have to write every day during the week. It’s your profession. You’re being paid for your opinions and thoughts. It earns you a living. But, authors who write to earn a living also take time off on the weekends, and for holidays for a refresh of their mind. Giving it time to regenerate and percolate new ideas. So, they’re not always writing every day. Sometimes, not even five days a week.
If you’re an author with a publishing deal, then yes, you probably should try to write every day in order to get the book you’re contracted to write by a deadline, finished.
Many authors like to write when it suits them, so they’re not writing every day.
Just because writing every day works for prolific authors like Stephen King (my brother from another mother), it does not mean it will work for you.
If you’re a writer who writes for yourself, writes for fun, or you want to take the time learning to write, taking courses, reading books on it, etc., then no, you don’t have to write every day unless you choose to.
It’s a choice.
If you start a story and want to finish it, you should try to write some each week, but you just don’t need to write every day. If you don’t want to write five days a week, what about three days a week, or one day a week in order to finish?
If you have no deadlines, don’t write for a living, and just want to write when the inspiration hits you, you have the luxury of freedom. The freedom to give your muse its head and let it off the leash to come and go as it pleases. Your muse needs that, otherwise, smother it, and it will disappear and never come back. Believe me, I know.
Of course, this could work against you. Many who choose to take their time end up taking years. But, if you’re not publishing, or planning on doing anything with your scribblings, it doesn’t matter. Does it?
The other thing is that life gets in the way. Of everything. Including writing. And some days, it gets in the way of you writing what it is you want to write. You need to be fluid, to go with the flow. Appointments crop up at the last minute, kids hurt themselves, you could lose a tooth and need the dentist. Your car could conk out, tyres blow, you could have an accident. I’m not saying you will, just showing that sometimes, if not many times, life gets in the way of what you want to do. Write. And writing, unless you’re earning money from it, doesn’t have to happen every day.
The next time someone says to you that you have to write every day, and you know that your schedule for writing works well and it’s not everyday, tell them no, you don’t. That it’s an archaic way of thinking because everyone’s different and we have to write in accordance to our life’s schedule, not the mythic one others before us have set that are no longer relevant to life in this decade and century.