Tuesday, July 3, 2012

On the Importance of Writing Every Day

In my last post I mentioned that one of my new goals was to write every day. This might seem like an obvious goal, and in a way it is: a writer writes. You need to put in the hours to produce even crap, let alone something worth reading. Writing every day will get your story down quicker than, say, writing only every second Tuesday but only when there's a full moon.

But for me it's more than just getting things done. It's about training the mind. Let me explain by talking about roller coasters.

I love roller coasters. I once read an article about how some scientists think that liking roller coasters is in fact a genetic trait, that some people are born with the right brain, stomach and inner-ear workings to really enjoy the hurtling, jostling, weightless loop-de-loops of coasters. My ancestors probably never realized it but with each generation they were getting closer and closer to producing offspring who could spend all day at the midway, going from the Zipper to the Tilt-a-Whirl without ever having to stop and vomit in one of those metal trash barrels.  

So like I said, I love roller coasters. I don't mind the wait in line, my antcipation is enough to carry me through. When it's over, my first thought is 'Can we go again?'

I don't feel this way about writing. There's no anticipation, no excitement about the fact that I have a chance to get some writing done. I put it off as long as I can. Why write when I could clean my apartment? Why stay in and write when it's such a nice day outside? Heck, why write at all? It'll just be crap anyway.

But when I force myself to actually sit down and write...it's better than any roller coaster. Not at first, sure, but eventually I get in my groove and the characters start talking to me and their world starts unfolding and the plot starts turning. It's amazing and better than any amusement park ride.

But even knowing this, I still can't work up any enthusiasm the next time my writing block rolls around. Sure, yesterday I wrote some good stuff, but that was yesterday. What if it doesn't come to me? What if nothing happens?

By forcing myself to write everyday I make myself push past that and just write. Eventually I hope that I get over my disconnect and actually look forward to my 10:00-11:00 writing block. Because, sure, I love roller coasters, but I couldn't live without writing.


  1. I'm with you on this one, Shannon. I'm exactly the same way. It's an odd thing, isn't it? Writing is so enjoyable, but resistance still manages to pop it's ugly head up every day and keep us from getting it done.

    Forcing myself to adhere to a routine is the best thing I've ever done for my writing. Otherwise, I wouldn't get a damned thing done. Hell, I still don't think I do enough.

    Hang in there!