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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Forgiveness, Not Writing Every Day

Sometimes there's a crushing guilt when I don't write every day. It gets even worse, this almost sour feeling, when that non-writing time extends a little to a couple of days or--GASP--an entire week.

Because people keep telling us that "YOU HAVE TO WRITE EVERY DAY." Otherwise you're a hack, you're not a serious writer, you'll never make anything of yourself, you're a lazy bum, your writing will suffer, and quite clearly you suck a million kinds of suckage at the suck farm. This mantra keeps getting bantered around to newbies and old hopefuls. 

I've been stalking author Daniel José Older online a little, and in a series of tweets he mentions that it's "increasingly clear that procrastination is a guilt trippy interpretation of taking much needed time to process before sitting down to write." Not only that but "writing a book is in so many ways a gigantic, beautiful, painful act of faith [and] guilt will never be a healthy engine to do anything least of all anything creative."

I think much of the "write everyday" advice comes from the fact that many people say that they want to write, but many people I've met who say this...never do. Ever. In their lives. That "one day I'll write a book" thing that some potential writers sling about, but never actually take the plunge.

Like with many things, practicing every day is a good way to learn. In music, I was told absolutely by a variety of teachers that I was to practice every single day for a bare minimum of an hour, preferably longer. Music is a lot of repetition, muscle memory, and learning to listen, but it's something else too. Just like writing you have to see your errors, accept them, work on them at your own pace, and move on. 

As Older says, "Can't slink up all guilty and twisted. Gotta bring that swagger to the process, to the writing desk, to the keyboard. Gotta bring the love."

It's the love part we forget about sometimes.

Do I write every day? Yes, I try. But sometimes those blue periods in between the active writing sessions are when my writing problems suddenly become clear. The problems character. That weird plot hole. That slightly creepy atmosphere I was struggling to get right.

Have any of you ever had problem you had to get away from to solve? Is there something you try to practice every day?

1 Comments:

At January 21, 2015 at 12:25 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I once had to take a break from fencing class for about a year. Once I got back to it, I was revitalized and full of enthusiasm. It also helped me get over a block I was having in my progression.

 

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