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“You Need to Write Every Day to be an Author” is the Worst Advice I Have Ever Heard.

What you should be doing instead of pumping out articles on a daily basis as if your life depends on it.

By Elise L. BlakePublished 3 years ago 5 min read
“You Need to Write Every Day to be an Author” is the Worst Advice I Have Ever Heard.
Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

“To be a better author you need to write every day.” I come across this advice almost every day and I’m sure we’ve all heard this advice as often as we’ve been told to look both ways before crossing the road. But, is this really the best way to become a better author?

No. Absolutely not.

Before I have a thousand angry article writers jumping for my neck I will say yes, “practice makes perfect” and this can be the same for writing but in most situations, this isn’t always the truth.

Why this advice doesn't work

I’m going to use a simple analogy to explain why this is one of the worst pieces of advice.

The standard hours of work for a large number of workers is the typical Monday to Friday 9–5. Correct? Or else Dolly Parton has been doing me wrong for many years. However, there is one important aspect this “write every day” notion keeps forgetting.

Days. Off.

Even the song 9 to 5 doesn’t mention a break. She works 9–5 in her day job and then comes home and works 5–9 on her dream job.

I don’t know a single person that goes to work seven days a week. The worst job I ever held was at a snowglobe kiosk in a large tourist trap working six days a week doing the same thing over and over again in the same 4 pm-9 pm shift after school a 7 am- 3 pm daily. My only day off was Sunday where I spent the day preparing to do it all over again.

Did I show up enthusiastic about my job in the beginning, ready to put on my tacky uniform and do my best Just like Dolly? Yes. Did this continue for the next five years I held this job? No.

You try explaining to an angry screaming tourist why they can’t buy a snowglobe… with the Statue of Liberty… in a gift shop… in Boston.

“Well, where can I find one?” I don’t know… have you heard of a place called New York?

Most writers work a full-time or part-time job on top of their writing, now all these articles are telling them to come home from their other job and sit down and write every single day, nonstop, forever?

I tried the trend of submitting an article every day for thirty days and you want to know what it gave me?

Major. Writing. Burnout.

The stress of having to come up with another article for another day just to check off a day on the calendar took the love out of my writing.

I love writing about writing, but I became so scrambled for ideas I wrote an article about dog food.

I don’t even have a dog.

What advice should you be following instead?

Write as often as you can. Treat it like a job.

If you need to take a day off to binge-watch the latest show on whatever your favorite streaming services are, please go right ahead and do so.

Guilt-free.

There is such a negative trait within the writing community that ladles us with guilt about not writing at every moment of every day.

There was once a YouTuber I watched religiously because I wanted her life. She had multiple published books, a nice house, and the cutest husky puppy I’ve ever seen. One day she posted a video that was simply a day in her life as a writer.

The moment her alarm clock went off in the morning she didn’t even brush her teeth before sitting down on her laptop to type out a few chapters, pausing momentarily for coffee before going at it again. Afterward, she would make breakfast while using audio dictation, before going back to her computer for the rest of the day, only pausing to switch to dictation while making her other meals.

That’s not the life I want.

I want to be able to wake up in the morning, feed my cat, enjoy a few moments of the birds chirping, then sit down to my writing.

I take frequent cat breaks and not only does my creative brain welcome this so does my back.

Psst.. if you have any recommendations for a good chair let me know. I’m currently on my third online bought chair and all I can say is OUCH!

Jobs come with breaks your writing should be no different.

Why do so many recommend this advice?

Repetitive. Behavior.

If you do anything often enough it will become a habit like waking up and brushing your teeth. You’ve done it so often it’s just what you do.

However, was it really the repetitive behavior? Or was it the motivation behind it?

Most of us learned to brush our teeth by the incentives and motivations of our parents whether pleasant or otherwise.

In my house, if my mother went to give you a hug and kiss goodnight and your breathe smelled worse than the garbage you got sent right to the bathroom, and your GameBoy was taken away for the night and if you’re the only one of four siblings not able to play a game that night…well it was quite the motivation for us.

Eventually, we developed it as a habit and it has continued on with it.

You need to find some way to find that motivation to make the repetitive behavior into a lifelong habit.

What should you take away from this?

There is nothing wrong with making writing a daily habit if it works for you, but if it doesn’t, don’t force yourself. Take a day off when you need it or if you really need to write every day set a word count that is manageable.

It’s okay to have a daily word count goal of 200 words, that way when you write 1500 words six of the seven days you won’t feel bad when you can only write 250 words on that one day because you still made your goal.

Don’t base your success on the lives of others, just because they write every day doesn’t mean you have to. There are plenty of writers who make an income writing who don’t write every day.

Here’s an article that was written by Emily Temple that gives you insight into eight wildly famous authors who struggled to write every day if they could even write at all.

Write today, or don’t either is fine with me, you are still a writer.

Just because an astronaut isn’t currently standing on the moon it doesn’t mean he isn’t still by title an astronaut.

Do what’s best for you.

B.K.

literature

About the Creator

Elise L. Blake

Elise is a full-time writing coach and novelist. She is a recent college graduate from Southern New Hampshire University where she earned her BA in Creative Writing.

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    Elise L. BlakeWritten by Elise L. Blake

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