There is a ton of advice out there for writers. Everything from show don’t tell to write what you know. If there’s one piece of advice that sticks out among the others, it’s write every day.
To get better at anything, you have to practice. You also have to make it a habit. When you write every day, you practice your craft, you improve, and—hopefully—you end up finishing the piece you’ve been working on. Writing every day is sound advice, and it’s supposed to make you better and more successful.
But what if you don’t feel like writing every day?
Does this make you a bad person?
Will you fail as a writer?
Writing is a job. It’s full of stress, long hours, and (occasionally) no acknowledgment of your accomplishments. While some believe writing is more enjoyable than an office job (and it certainly can be—at least you get to be creative and develop new worlds!), you still have to be dedicated to your project. But words don’t always come easily. Projects get stuck or life pulls us away. Frustration sets in. What do you do then?
As you can imagine, there is a lot of different advice on how to overcome writer’s block, including to keep writing. If we keep putting words on the page, we’ll eventually get unstuck and be able to move forward. That may be true, but it can also lead to more irritation and frustration.
I don’t know about you, but even though writing is work, I still want it to be fun. I want to be able to escape into my words and worlds and enjoy working on a novel. I don’t want to feel angry because I can’t get part of a story just right. So I take a break.
If you work in an office job, you’re allowed to take days off and go on vacation every once in a while to recharge and refocus. There are benefits to taking vacations, so it’s important to get away. Why can’t you do the same for writing?
Oh, I know. You feel guilty when you don’t write every day. I get that. But every once in a while, it’s important to step back from your project and think about it from a new perspective. You have to let it sit and think about what it’s done and what it needs to do, then you can come back to it with fresh eyes and enthusiasm.
How long you stay away from a project is totally up to you. We’re all different, and our writing habits vary. If you feel guilty for not writing every day, try writing something else. Keep a journal, start a new project, write an article or blog post. Whatever! You’ll still be writing every day.
It’s said that those who write every day will become more successful, but there are arguments against this thought. No one wants to burn out.
One of the most important things to remember is why you started writing. Whether it’s an uncontrollable impulse or the need to silence the voices in your head, more than likely, writing is something you do because you enjoy it. Don’t lose sight of that. If you can’t have fun writing, what’s the point of doing it?
It’s okay if you don’t feel like writing every day. It’s okay to put a project aside for a while and work on something else. You won’t be less of a writer. You’ll still be amazing.