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Every single day?

I know I just put up a post about how to every writer should give themselves a break between projects. A way to renew the imagination and all that. Well, this post talks about the exact opposite piece of advice. I believe both pieces of advice apply to those who want to make a career out of writing. How can that be, if they contradict each other? Mainly because the previous post was about advice that is an exception to this forthcoming rule…one which even semi-serious writers will hear sooner or later:

“Write every single day.”

I’m trying to remember where I first heard this piece of advice. I do know that a few months after I decided to actually pursue writing as a eventual profession that this is the tact I would take. (this was back in the sophomore year of college) And since then, I have. Sure, holidays, sick days, etc. Those all come up. I mean, everyone needs a break from their work…and writing is work, but work I love.

Is every day equal then? Hardly. Some days instead of mining for literary gems, it feels more like squelching through the mud and coming up with a fistful of worms. Of course, if you want to take that analogy further, you could then use those worms as fishing bait for a better story haul. Or is that stretching the illustration a little?

But is it easy to write every day? No, of course not. It’s a habit that must be built and a practice to be enforced, just like going to the gym to stay in shape. However, writing every day doesn’t have to mean writing on your novel or short story. If you find those efforts becoming daily grinds, don’t let yourself burn out. Take a day and fiddle with some poetry, even if you never actually intend to publish the stuff. Journal a few pages. Look out your window and describe what you see in excruciating detail. There are unlimited ways to inspire the words to come, so if one path isn’t working for you one day, take the one less traveled and see where it goes. Then, once you’ve caught a breath of fresh air, you can come back to the main project with renewed motivation.

But just keep writing. That’s the only way it will ever get done.

I see that smile.

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