Sometimes it’s difficult to get hours of writing in each day, especially if you work full time or have a busy family and/or social life. But it’s important to try to get as much writing done as you can if you want to be a writer. Writing is a muscle that needs to be exercised often so it can not only remain strong, but get stronger.
I admit that I don’t write every day. There … it’s out in the open now. Sometimes I’ll go a week or more without working on a first draft or any other project. But in that time I’m usually doing something constructive like editing/re-reading a draft, promoting a book on sale, engaging in social media, outlining a project or jotting down notes, research, etc. I don’t write every day – I write more in spurts. Like I said above, I may go weeks sometimes without writing, but then I’ll write eighty to a hundred pages in a few days (I just want to say here that I’ve never gone more than a month without writing something).
I’ve tried to create a writing schedule for myself many times, and it works for a little while, but then I’m usually back to my regular routine of not writing for a while and then writing at a furious pace for a few days. I’ve tried in the past to give myself page counts and word counts that I want to get done, or I’ll give myself a time limit of when I want to complete a first draft. But these don’t always work.
I read somewhere that one writer gives himself only four pages a day to write. Four pages? That’s nothing. But then I thought about it … if you write four pages a day times seven days a week, then in nine weeks you’d have a little over two hundred and fifty pages. Not too bad … a novel-length work in a little over two months.
Lately, I’ve found something even more extreme than that; I read about a writer who gives himself one page a day to complete. ONE PAGE? That’s ridiculous. Isn’t it?
I tried it. I told myself that surely I can find some time in each day to write one page. So I committed myself to it. And to my surprise, I found that I never wrote only one page – that one page ended up becoming three or four pages, sometimes ten or fifteen pages.
So the one page a day thing has worked out well up until a few weeks ago. I had to rewrite a screenplay and send it to a producer so that bit into a lot of my time and some other things came up. I still got some writing done here and there, but I strayed away from the one-page-a-day routine.
But I’m going to go back to it right after Thanksgiving.
So my advice is: Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to write every day. If you put it off for a little bit, just make sure you get back to it. Don’t make yourself feel guilty about it, and definitely don’t throw in the towel because of it. And maybe try a writing schedule – even if it’s only one page a day. Maybe that one page will turn into more pages every day.
The main thing is that a writer writes. A writer gets to work pounding out the pages on whatever schedule he or she uses, and powers through the tough spots in the story until that first draft is written.
Hope this helps someone out there, and please feel free to comment if you want to.
Until next time …