Write Every Day

Let's talk about how often you should write. We'll call that your writing schedule.

When I first started out as a "professional" writer, meaning I wanted to earn a living by writing, I heard from many experienced published authors that I needed to write every day or, at the very least, write on a consistent schedule.

I learned by experience that those experienced authors were spot on. Here's why.

Why You Should Write Every Day

1. A novel is a BIG project to hold in your head. You must remember the basics like what names you have given to the characters from the major characters to the minor walk-on characters. If you start a book in January and write feverishly for a couple of weeks then set the project aside for a couple of weeks, you'll be surprised how those tiny details like name, hair color, eye color, profession, motivation, hidden secret, etc. will have escaped you. You'll have to go back and review all your notes, read everything you'd written up to the stopping point, and try to "get back in" to the story. That will take a lot more time than you imagine.

2. If you write on a consistent schedule, you don't have to "talk yourself" into writing. By habit, you go to your computer or wherever, sit down, and write. No mental coercion is required. No agonizing. No procrastination and thinking, "I'll relax today and catch up tomorrow." Producing so many words or pages every day builds the habit of writing. When you're sick or feeling exhausted, habit will put you in the writing position every day.

3. Writing on a schedule keeps the fire of the story burning within. If you allow that fire to turn to ashes and grow cold, you lose the creative energy to finish the project. If you don't believe me, just look at all your friends who keep starting books only to stall out, then start another, stall out, etc.

Writing effectively is a matter of getting that creative flow. It's similar to turning on the hot water faucet. Do you get hot water instantly? Probably not. The water has to run a bit before the water begins to warm. When it's hot, and you turn the water off, but then turn it on again after a short break, it's runs hot instantly.

That's how it is with writing. Write every day, and the words flow hot immediately. Write every week or so, and it takes a long while to get those words flowing well again.

T. S. Eliot: "Writing everyday is a way of keeping the engine running, and then something good may come out of it."

Takeaway Truth

Establish a consistent writing schedule and stick to it. You'll write faster, and your writing will improve also.

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