Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I Beg To Differ

If you’re truly a writer, you write every day. Not because you want to but because you have to.

I didn’t write this quote. I paraphrased it from one I’d seen somewhere else a long time ago. In preparation for this blog, I went searching for it again hoping to use the exact quote and give proper credit to its creator. While I didn’t find what I was looking for, I did find a number of articles devoted to this very topic.

I’ll admit I didn’t read all of the articles. I skimmed over them, but the gist of them was all the same. Writers need to write every day. It polishes their craft and keeps their skills sharp. Those who write every day are not only the masters of their craft but they’re legitimate writers. I’m afraid I’m going to have to respectfully disagree. Not with everything. I don’t dispute that writing every day can sharpen a writer’s abilities. However, I take exception to the fact that it can and must be done every day in order for an individual to be considered a writer.

I’m here to tell you I don’t write every day. Or rather, I don’t make time every day to sit in front of my computer and pound out a few pages. That doesn’t mean I’m not writing. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve started thinking about the direction of my latest novel only to become caught up in writing a scene in my head. This is both a blessing and a curse. While I’m grateful to have an idea as to how I want the story to progress, I’m often the victim of writing prettier prose in my head than what I produce on paper.

To be honest, I don’t have the time or the desire to sit in front of my computer each day. If I did that, it would probably hurt more than help my writing. Many writers, me included, have day jobs; eight hour day jobs filled with stress that require we spend a great deal of time in front of the computer. Many of us have spouses and children that need our attention. After giving to our jobs and our families, the thought of sitting in front of the computer to write the latest chapter sometimes seems overwhelming. When that happens, writing crosses the line from being something we have to do because we’re passionate about it to something we have to do because we’re writers and it’s expected of us. I don’t know about my peers, but when I write because I feel obligated to do so, my work suffers. My scenes are flat, my characters are dull, my dialogue is forced and my work sucks so badly I find myself wondering why I bothered.

I would love to write every day if it was feasible. I can’t think of a writer who wouldn’t take that deal but to say that not writing every day makes me less of a writer is just insulting. I write when I want to, not when I think I should. Besides making me a better writer, it keeps writing from becoming something I dread.

Real writers write every day? I beg to differ!

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