‘Experts’ tell anybody who calls themselves an author they must ‘write something every day’. It need not be their finest work. The words might be something to delete the next day. They might not relate to any work in progress. But we must write. Every day.
I want to say I follow this rule. I don’t.
Some days, I can’t find the time. On other days I find the time, but the internet finds cat memes. I’ve tried making myself write when my so-called muse is outside vaping, but the results are lamentable. Writing something I wouldn’t read seems absurd.
I tell myself I’m writing. Even when I’m not.
I lie in the bath and ponder story-lines. It’s the same when walking the dog, or cursing as some random slowly unloads the contents of a shopping trolly at the basket-only check-out. I try to storyline what might happen next and what absolutely won’t. I put scenes in order. Some would maintain this is writing. I think of it as planning. But it leads to writing, so I guess it counts.
I also tell myself not writing works.
Often if I miss one day, I’ll miss more. I don’t do guilt by half. I’d rather shower myself in shame when the gap between chapters stretches to a month. But when I go back to the story, I find myself recharged. What flows from me reads better than what was already there. I cherish the latest chunk of the story. So much more than the last one … and I was certain what I previously wrote would see me win the Man Booker.
There’s a private fear that not writing every day means I’ve run out of words. A few years back I stopped work completely. For three years I left behind the business of building worlds, convinced it was no longer in me. This week I found myself well past the half-way point of what I hope to be a final edit on my next book.
What I’m struggling to say is, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t write some days. Everyone gets to where they want to be.