A few days ago, I wrote a post called “Why writing every day is like buying a lottery ticket.” I really enjoyed putting that one together, and now it has me thinking about the many real benefits of writing every day. That’s a mandate I’ve seen in many a writer’s handbook, from Stephen King to Anne Lamott. I do write every day, if only for twenty minutes or half an hour (with the exception of maybe three or four days a year). I push myself to do that because I’ve seen it, in my case, get results.
That said, I definitely understand that not everyone’s life can accommodate a set and scheduled writing session each day. And if that’s the case for you, or you simply find success working with a different kind of procedure, then that’s totally okay and nothing to feel bad about. It’s not as though you can’t write successfully with a one good weekly session, or cramming in as much as you can on the weekends. I write daily because that’s the process that works for me. And if that’s something you aspire you but have trouble doing, maybe this will provide some motivation!
- Writing every day keeps me focused. I’ve found that it keeps me thinking about my WIP and gives me a sense of urgency to figure out where the characters will go next. I write as a “pantser” for the most part, with no outlines, and if I know I’ll have to start a new scene the next day, then I don’t procrastinate planning what needs to happen in that scene. Even if I only get two paragraphs down the next morning, it keeps my forward progress going and prevents me starting down the slippery slope of telling myself, “I’ll get to that later,” with “later” becoming weeks or months.
- I don’t lose track of the pacing and the subtleties of my story. That’s not to say my drafts don’t end up with some pacing issues. They almost always do. What I mean is, the few times I have left off a project for an extended period, I had to go and reread all fifty or one hundred pages I had written before (making myself edit as I went) before I could pick up the story again. That happened to me with both my first two published novels. Looking back, I wasted a lot of time getting back into the groove of what my novel was about.
- I really get to know my characters. Writing without outlines, I kind of get to know my characters as I go along. It’s like building a friendship with an acquaintance. I have to spend time to with them to figure out what makes them tick.
- I know I can call myself a writer. Which boosts my confidence when it’s dipping. If I slog away every day, then I feel secure telling people, “I’m a writer.” “I’m an author.” Because I write. After all, that’s the only qualification to be a writer That’s not to say, of course, that you aren’t a writer if you don’t write every day!!! Just that I’m neurotic enough that I need that extra cushion to support my self-esteem. So I make sure I have it.