There are a hundred really good reason why you should write every day if you’re going to be the writer you want to be. Breaking a big and complex job down into bits, for instance, is a nice one.
The REAL reason to write every day though, when you take time to think about it, is to keep the demons out of your head.
I’m not talking Exorcist, Rite or Rosemary’s Baby style demons (although some of those might seem very real at four in the morning); it’s our own devils and demons that sneak in and fill the dark, damp corners of our minds spawning doubt and fear, uncertainty and insecurity.
When you “take a break” from writing, it might feel, for a while, like a relief. Then, almost unnoticed, thoughts and feelings begin to seep into the folds of your mind like vapor. At first, it’s not entirely unpleasant. But after a while, when you try to reach out and touch them, they disappear into the walls of your flesh and leave nothing but an inexplicable lethargy behind that only CSI re-runs seem to cure. So to avoid the feelings gnawing at your gut, you sit down, switch on your TV, and lose yourself in someone else’s fiction. Before you know it, a day or two days or a week has gone by, time has passed, and you’ve not written a word.
Then the demons get adventurous and plant thoughts in your mind about life: where you are, what you’ve done, how old you are, how much time you think you have, others who have published ahead of you who are younger and haven’t written for as long, about your day job and how much more you’d get done if you didn’t have to work.
You do all that mulling, and you still don’t write a word.
Then finally, once you’ve picked a few needless fights with people you love most and have endured a week or two or three of frustration, moodiness, and possibly indigestion, you think “Sod it, I’ll write this unforgiving world into my book.”
And you finally sit down and write.
Suddenly, the light fills the dark corners, the day job becomes the really cool place you go so you can pay your bills and put food on your table and holidays in your calendar and movies in your weekend. Your family become those beautiful people who have supported your dream even when you behaved like an idiot.
It’s like magic! The real deal!
So take some time to watch your writing moods.
Next time you feel like taking a break, don’t stop entirely. Do something every day towards your craft – even if it’s writing short stories, researching a new character, reading up on a new writing technique, studying a new genre. Doesn’t matter. Every day, do something towards your dream. If you feel the darkness descend, pick up your pen. Even if it’s 300 words, it doesn’t matter. Make the commitment and write those 300 words every day. 365 days of the year.
These are the basic writing rules:
ONE: Love the people you love.
TWO: Appreciate who pays your bills.~
THREE: Eat well, be fit.
FOUR: Write every day. Every day. Without fail.
Those doubts and shadows have no space in your mind. It’s all you. You get to choose how you feel and how you spend your writing time. If you really only have 30 minutes, then set a clock for 30 minutes and write. You’ll be surprised how much you get down. You don’t need hours every day. 30 minutes in the morning. 30 minutes at lunchtime. 30 minutes in the evening. 30 minutes before you go to bed. Depending on how often you skip back to edit as you write, you could clock up 2000 words every day.
2000 words a day = 60,000 a month = a young adult novel or a short novel for grown-ups.
If you’re writing a 120,000 word book for adults, 2000 words a day will give you a first draft in two months. That’s got to be worth four 30 minute writing slots every day. Hasn’t it?
You don’t even have to spread your words across your day. Get it all done in the morning and spend the rest of your day living, editing, appreciating and enjoying your job. That’s a full day. No time, space, or energy for deluded demons here.