Monday, September 24, 2012

6 Benefits of Writing Every Day

Firstly I’d like to stress that if you can’t write every day then this doesn’t somehow make you less of a writer. However, there are some clear benefits of making the time to write on a daily basis. Here is what I’ve learned the hard way:  

1. Practice makes perfect: In so much of life it’s about quality, not quantity. In writing, however, I believe quantity is essential to achieve quality. By doing we learn, we stretch ourselves, we hone our skills. When we write only occasionally it takes us a while to loosen our stiff writing muscles. When those muscles have limbered up, our work becomes smooth and our words flow.

2.  For confidence: When we write a lot we grow in confidence—confidence in ourselves, our words, our stories. We gain the courage to step away from the current trends and write the stories our characters call for, those special stories caught in our heart.  

3. Less pressure to get it right first try: When we write now and then, our work tends to need to be good. We’ll agonise over the few words we have, we’ll stress over our rare moments of creativity, and we’ll feel like a failure if the work isn’t perfect. When we write every day—or, at least, frequently—then instant perfection matters less because we suddenly have more to offer. We’ve given ourselves more time to try different things, to experiment, to play. The pressure isn’t there and the perverseness of that simple fact means we tend to write better. Go figure.  

4. To build discipline: As most writers will tell you: Writing ain’t easy! A certain level of discipline is required to turn a writing hobby in a writing career. If it’s a career you want, then by writing every day you’ll practise the kind of discipline you’ll need to shape that career.

5. To ward off writer’s block: I believe that waiting for inspiration is one of the major causes of writer’s block. This is because inspiration is always late to a party and is never around when you need her. By making the decision to write every day, we can’t wait for her. We have to write anyway.  

6. To achieve those goals and dreams: The more we write the faster we write. My first novel took me nine years to complete because I didn’t write every day. I only wrote when I felt like it, which in the beginning wasn’t often. Now that I write close to every day, I’ve written three novels in two years and they are a gazillion times better than that first novel.  

What are some other benefits to writing every day? Do you think there may be some disadvantages?

--  
WINNERS: A big congratulations to LG Smith for winning an ebook copy of Justine Dell’s Recaptured Dreams. Congrats also to Tonja and Shelley for being bookmark winners!!!  

Note: I will return to posting on Wednesday 3rd Oct with an exciting giveaway and a post for the Insecure Writers' Support Group. In the meanwhile, I'll still be around the blogsphere.

.

75 comments:

  1. I don't write creatively every day, although I do write blog posts and guest posts. And yes, I feel the pressure to make what I write perfect.
    Which is why I intend my next book to be my last.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would be a shame, Alex, if your next book were your last.

      Delete
    2. That would be a shame - -but self criticism and perfection as a writer can be difficult to deal with. Could you try writing creatively every day to see whether some of this pressure is released?

      Delete
  2. Good points. I also feel that if I don't open my project file up every day then I start to lose that connection with the work. I didn't write for two weeks while I was on my trip last spring and it took me a long while after I got back to get in the swing of things again. So for continuity's sake, I like to try and write at least something every day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, that's another great point!! It's partly why I like to write that fast first draft too.

      Delete
  3. Hi Lynda. Looks like you're taking the first week of the school holidays off. I hope you have fun with your kids! I'm off to Townsville to see my daughter for a week.
    These tips are good. No 5 reminds me of Einstein, isn't it, who said genius is '10% inspiration and 90% perspiration' or some such. Pretty true. You've got to get those bad words out so the magic words flow easier.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! My break was just good timing. I have no kids. Enjoy Townsville and visiting your daughter.

      Delete
  4. Writing everyday forms a habit that you will want to continue.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Awesome post! You make excellent points. I try to write every day even if I can only get in 100 words. I can't see any disadvantages to writing every day. Only good can come out of it for writers.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great advice as always. I have not been writing every day - although I have been planning my story like a maniac day after day nonstop while I do everything else. Not exactly the same thing.

    Yay, I won? Awesome!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I used to write every day but life has been a bit too crazy... I am planning on getting back into the routine, even if it's only a few hundred words a day.

    ReplyDelete
  8. This is a great post, Lynda!

    I practice several times a week but man, I don't write every day. It feels like a chore if I do it that way. I should try to start writing every day.

    I haven't experienced writer's block yet but it takes forever to find inspiration to write. I read blogs like yours and it sorta starts getting the juices boiling.

    I think I'm confident in my writing but I'm most scared of losing the confidence in the future. Ever since I began blogging, I've experienced more pressure to write but that should go down once I figure out a routine for my blog.

    Thanks for mentioning these topics! :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. My main reason for writing every day is that I'm addicted & can't help myself :) But I love all your listed reasons too, and believe them!

    ReplyDelete
  10. This a great post. I don't write everyday because real life gets in the way.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I find your post always helpful. I want to write everyday, I want to and now after reading your post, I think I have to.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I write everyday, but it's all for work. I should spend a little time everyday writing something of my own, especially after the list you've given. I could do with some boosts :)

    Jamie @ Mithril Wisdom

    ReplyDelete
  13. I agree completely - I've been writing every day for two years now and have seen huge improvements in my style and ideas. I think sometimes the only down side could be forgetting to enjoy the process and focusing on the end result. A trap I fall into every now and again. But it's not permanent and it's not fatal - if this happens to you I suggest just riding it through. I think it can be a result of tiredness and deep focus. But the benefits to writing everyday far outweigh this little blip! Great post, thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I have to catch up on writing every day - I've stopped doing this and now have to re-start. Thanks for sharing this, Lynda! :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. I like writing every day as I find the story flows more easily that way. Also, the more I write, the more I want to write - it's kind of like a snowball rolling down a hill!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I admire y'all for writing creatively everyday!!! I'm a very lazy unfocused person so need to be extremely and highly stimulated to write something creative - so prompts work for me but I do know writerly discipline of some kind like writing everyday would also be most helpful! Take care
    x

    ReplyDelete
  17. I write every 3rd day so I guess that's better than nothing.

    Though having a blog doesn't really encourage me to write, it encourages me to go out and do things so I have things to write about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is nothing wrong with going out and living life. In the end it's all fodder for our writing anyway ;)

      Delete
  18. When I write every day, my writerly muscles are toned and the words come out with less effort. The same thing applied when I was playing music. If I didn't practice every day, it showed.

    I don't see any disadvantages to writing every day. It's nourishment for my creative soul. Skipping a meal is unhealthy.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I love the feeling I have when I write every day - I just can't wait to rejoin my story and characters - so much fun!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'd write only when my body and brain tell me to do so :) That's my initial reaction. But then again, I often write good things even when I just force myself to sit down and write....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love it when a piece turns into a gem when there was little to no inspiration to get it started.

      Delete
  21. You can't be more right, Lynda. Truth be told, here. It's come to a point that I feel something is missing in my life if a day goes by without having written something.

    And thanks for the heads up. Blog is fixed now. :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. All your points are good, but I'm most intrigued with the third one. I already spend a good bit of time writing most days, but it sure would be nice if I could turn down the pressure I exert on myself to "get it exactly right." Unfortunately, I fear that particular flaw may be part of my DNA. Thanks for the terrific post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, I have that problem as well. Hmm, maybe I should write a post about it...

      Delete
  23. Definitely write every day increases self confidence, something indispensable. Greetings.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I couldn't pick a favorite among your reasons, Lynnie. What a truly excellent post.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Great post, and great inspiration :-)

    ReplyDelete
  26. I know for me, if I don't write everyday, I get writer's block. I need to write everyday, even if it's only a hundred words.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I agree wholeheartedly that writers should write every day, even if it's just on a blog. Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  28. How about just 'cause we love it?!!!

    ReplyDelete
  29. These are wonderful points. I usually write something everyday, but not always the stuff I'd really like to (like the WIP). Thanks for the encouragement. :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. I started taking some time off on weekends, but tend to at least think about what I'm doing. It does take writing, writing, writng, to get better at it.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I used to write every day. I've decided that I often need more space between sessions than just a few hours. Sometimes a day or two allows me time to roam outside of the story before plunging back in. I get a fresh view that way. Of course, if I'm really into a WiP I work around the clock. It just depends.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I think that number 3 is a really good point and one that's often over-looked. So many writers feel under pressure to produce perfect writing the first time round and we need to let go of that. Perfectionism can be crippling.

    Jai

    ReplyDelete
  33. writing every day is a great habit. once you put off writing, or procrastinate, it will be easier to let it go...the more we write, the better we get! all wonderful advice!

    ReplyDelete
  34. omg, Lynda, you said it all when you said it here. Writing's like a muscle or something. Seriously. I'm a jogger, and it's the SAME thing. If I get lazy and don't jog for a week or whatever, it is that much harder to get back into that smooth, easy flow. Just like writing, yes?

    It's not necessarily "use it or lose it," but it's very much "use it or work really really hard to get it back to flow." :D <3

    ReplyDelete
  35. You are so right, Lynda. I am a much more productive and better writer since I started writing daily. Before I made the commitment to do it, I didn't think I could write on demand. But it's not always about writing the same thing everyday. If I'm stuck on one thing, I can work on something else.

    Congrats to the winners!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Agreed. I'm a five day a week girl, but every day is a good idea.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Oh, YES to Number 3! I used to feel that pressure, and then when I started writing more often and focusing on producing more, it felt that much easier to get the words out.

    The other benefit to writing every day, at least for me, is that it keeps my head "in the zone". When I go for several days without writing, it takes me several hours of fiddling, rereading, and making trips back to the kitchen for snacks to get back into the manuscript. And then my time for the day is over! Writing every day keeps those characters in the back of my head so I can hear them more easily.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I remember some novels took much longer to write because I wasn't writing regularly.

    I don't write every single day, but I try to. I usually catch up on weekends.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Can't agree more, especially the first one. Practice does make it better, though it doesn't seem like it at the time:)

    ReplyDelete
  40. Well, it's like exercise or practicing a musical instrument. You keep working at it, fine-tuning, editing, until you find that sweet spot. And, yes, every day. I tell my piano students, even if it's just one song for five mintues, it's better than nothing, and you'll be surprised how much you end up doing once you sit down and start! It's the same with writing.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Great list of benefits! It's a very, very rare day that I don't write at all, but I get kind of anxious on those days, like something important is missing.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Lynda, I agree with all the points. Writing everyday hones our skills, the words tend to flow faster and writer's block is kept at a distance.

    ReplyDelete
  43. "Less pressure to get it right first try" - SO TRUE!

    ReplyDelete
  44. If I don't write everyday, I'm reading. It's that other damn stuff that gets in the way, husband, kids, dog, eating, sleeping, and how can I forget the house cleaning, and my least favorite, the laundry. All of it keeps me from my goal,then again, maybe it's just the excuse I use to keep from tackling the thing I love and fear the most. Love, because it is so freeing. Fear, because I'm afraid I'll never be good enough!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. House cleaning? Do writers do the house cleaning? Is that why my place is a complete mess? ;)
      Welcome, Yolanda

      Delete
  45. I hear you Lynda. Great reasons. I have bouts of writing every day and then bouts of not. I used to worry about it but I realised it was inhibiting, so now I embrace my writing days and enjoy my non writing days as a consolidation/ writing in my head days.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Congratulations to the winners!

    You have great advice and list here Lynda! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  47. You have no idea how much I needed this post right now! Thanks for the motivation.

    ReplyDelete
  48. I love your points here! I can attest to all of them. I write every day but Sunday-- don't want to get burned out, so a day off is nice.

    ReplyDelete
  49. I could not agree more with the benefits of writing everyday. I write 500 words a day.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Great points, Lynda. I started writing Monday through Friday about a year ago - from 1 - 4 PM. Wow, what a difference it has made. I can totally agree with what you've shared. Thanks for being such an inspirational writer!

    ReplyDelete
  51. Fine points, Lynda, and thank you.

    As someone who also makes a point of writing daily, and at the same time daily (first thing in the morning with fresh-brewed coffee and before my head gets filled with other people's nonsense words), I'd add a seventh point: the muse likes regularity.

    This isn't an original thought. Stephen King makes this point in his fine little book, 'On Writing,' and I think he's dead on: if you write daily, and perhaps at the same time, you train your conscious mind to be open to subconscious (aka Muse) input; it becomes a habit, and inspiration comes more easily. If this sounds like pop psych mumbo-jumbo to anyone, I suggest they try it for at least 10 or 14 days and note the results.

    This in no way negates your point (5); a writer writes whether inspired or not: it's a job, not a leisure pursuit. :)

    Dario

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! Building a habit certainly makes it easier.

      Delete
  52. It's kind of an addiction and a habit for me.
    Taking a day off from time to time is also good. xx

    ReplyDelete
  53. I loved when I wrote every day but now I am between books and seem to not be able to get going again.Maybe I'm enjoying my move too much. Soon...

    ReplyDelete
  54. Good stuff! To me, it seems that it is very hard to get back into the habit or writing, once you've gotten out of it. Especially so, if you've relegated the writing time to something else.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Fantastic points! I totally agree with all of them. This is the first book I've worked on every day, and it's amazing how much better it went.

    I'll add another one, too: Momentum. Maybe it's just me, but it seems the more days I write in a row, the easier it is to keep going. If I stop, it's so much harder to get started again, but the longer I live in the world of the story the easier it is to stay there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a great point to add, and so true

      Delete
  56. Totally, I agree. It took me 7 years to write my first book. Now since I write almost everyday while I write my first draft, it took me 5 months to write my next novel.

    ReplyDelete
  57. If I break from writing too long, it's always hard to get back into it. Important to keep those creative muscles flexed.

    ReplyDelete
  58. I like #3! You gain confidence from writing daily (or at least regularly). Some days writing just flows better anyway! Yep--less pressure. :)

    ReplyDelete
  59. Sorry I'm late, Lynda. It's been a strange summer and I never seemed to catch up. But I'm here now. And wow, great post. Writing every day is like brushing your teeth after every meal. It's healthy. I've always thought writing as an important part of my daily routine. Course, I also think of it as a job. I'm just so grateful I love what I'm doing.

    ReplyDelete
  60. I find that when I don't write every day the prose is bumpier, the dialogue is more stilted, and the whole is in much greater need of a severe editing than when I maintain the daily discipline.

    Someone in the comments above compared writing to playing a musical instrument, and I think that's a very valid comparison. You start taking too many breaks, and the output is noticeably weaker.

    Great post, Lynda.

    ReplyDelete
  61. This is a really great list. I especially agree with number 6. You can't hit goals if you don't write. I went through a phase where I wrote everyday and the stuff that came out of those days came out substantially better than normal and took fewer rewrites to get to a point that I was happy with.

    ReplyDelete

I'd love to hear your opinion. Thanks for leaving a comment.