Don’t Write Every Day
I tried to write a poem yesterday, and I just couldn’t. I’ve written so many poems lately, I felt like I was on a roll. But no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t find words.
So much writing advice says if you’re not writing every day, you’re failing somehow. You’re not a “real” writer. Whatever the hell that is.
If you’re serious about writing, you’re supposed to treat it like a job. Do you know who goes to work every single day? Workaholics, people who burn the candle at both ends, who are definitely going to burn out. Screw that.
Don’t write every day. Don’t do it. Put that pen down, step away from the keyboard, and go do something else. Anything else. Go outside. Read a book for fun: no, not a Serious™ book, a fun book. Play with your kids or pets, or both. Watch TV. Go for a walk. Live life.
You are not a robot or a machine in an assembly line. You are a writer. Your imagination is your most crucial tool, and if you keep using it without refilling the tank you will run out of stuff to write. How do you refill the tank? Take a break. Go outside. Read a book. Watch TV. Live life.
If you get into the habit of writing every day because you think that’s what you have to do, guess what’s gonna happen when life gets in the way and you miss a day? You’re gonna feel guilty. Don’t do that to yourself. You didn’t fail or cheat because you didn’t write today. You took a break. You refilled your imagination tank.
If you’re forced to take a day off writing for an emergency of some kind and you couldn’t rest and refill your imagination tank, then take another day or two, or more. Take as much time as you need. Take care of you.
Words will still be here when you come back. You won’t lose them. I once took a year off writing, and I made it back. It wasn’t exactly easy to get back into it, and I wouldn’t really recommend taking that much time if you don’t have to, but it wasn’t as hard as I expected it to be either.
When you’re lost in the fog of a writing marathon, and your eyes are glazing over so you can’t tell the difference between you’re and your or there, their, and they’re, you don’t need to push through. Listen to yourself. You need a break.
If your family and friends aren’t sure what you look like anymore, you don’t need to lock the door and write some more. You need a break.
Even if you don’t think you need a break, you might still need a break. Don’t let it get so bad you’re desperate for some time away from writing. Get out there and live your life.