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don’t write every day

don’t write every day

(4 min read) Do you write every day?

Writing every day is fine if that’s your kink. I don’t make myself write every day because I’m not a fascist. I like my freedom.

If you write every day: for heck’s sake, don’t let a blogger stop you! Keep that pen moving from exactly 6:05am to 6:25am (or whatever) and love it. I’m so happy for you. But I wrote this post for the rest of us.

I don’t like being my own vice principal and hitting myself on the knuckles with a ruler. Plus, it just doesn’t work for me. It doesn’t work for a lot of people.

If you’re trying to force yourself to write every day, I want to help you stop.

Writing every day won’t make you a writer.

Writing something you love that matters to strangers will make you a writer.

“Write every day” is popular advice. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s just the simplicity. The dream that One Weird Trick can make you a Real Writer. Or it could be ableist gatekeeping mixed with the capitalist pressure for all of us to behave like efficient factories instead of unpredictable natural wonders. It might be the fact that Stephen King says he always wrote daily (while his wife back-burnered her own writing career for reasons that I’m sure are unrelated to the split of unpaid domestic labor in their household), or because Julia Cameron bit a large number of people in the leg and infected them with highly contagious acute cases of The Artist’s Way.

I’m salty about write every day.

Writing doesn’t move at the speed of time. Writing moves at the speed of thought. Discipline won’t change the speed of your thoughts. Only support (technique, excitement, inspiration, trust, community) or coffee can do that.

But the write every day dream dies hard. It has big mountain-climber energy. I see a lot of people in my coaching practice who want this. They want to be able to write steady, write predictable, write reliable. But their brains don’t wanna do it.

The end result is people being like “I’m bad.” “I don’t write every day.” “How can I be a different person?” “How can I have a brain that works like (name of famous person whose brain works different)?”

Are you judging yourself for not writing enough? Judgement takes energy. I wanna see you grab all that energy back. Distentangle yourself from this expectation (or any writing expectation that leads to judgement instead of support.)

Let go of trying to make yourself write daily; try letting go of that idea for one week; see if it frees up a lot of energy for stuff that matters instead.

Stop trying to write every day.

Let that expectation go.

Grab your energy back.

Now, redirect it into support for the real writer you can actually be.

Can you find more sources of inspiration? Can you grow new skills and technique? Can you write as a gift for someone else? Can you build your technique until you fall in love with the sound of your own writing voice, not because you’re a narcissist but because you simply sound IRRESISTIBLE on the page? What can you actually do?

Keep moving in those directions and eventually you’ll notice you’re writing pretty much daily. But not every day because sometimes you’ll want to sleep, or fart around, or (because of your growing professional writing career) you’ll be so busy with meetings and workshops and fellowships and productions and readings that some days you simply won’t have the bandwidth to look at the moon and have a feeling about it and scribble that into a notebook.

That’s what happened to me. Having a perfect attendance record and getting a bunch of gold star stickers on my calendar is not how I ended up a million-pageview blogger, a GRAMMY-losing (but nominated!) lyricist, and someone who got to see over a hundred productions of my plays and operas onstage around the world before age 35. I didn’t do it by writing every day. I’m not Sisyphus and I’m not a sentient cuckoo clock that screams out 1000 words every 24 hours.

“Write every day?” I barely remember to drink water every day! I have far fewer routines than your average zoo animal. I do my laundry vaguely. I’m a professional writer anyhow.

You don’t have to become a “good” or predictable person to do this professionally, and you sure as jack don’t have to be that way to do it for fun.

If a daily writing habit feels good, do it. But if a daily writing schedule isn’t making your heart sing, screw it. Don’t try to make yourself write every day just because Stephen King said he does. (If the author of a book about a deadly sewer clown from outer space jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?)

“Write every day” isn’t a good writing goal. I think “want to write every day” is a better one.

What if (instead of showing up like a nervous child facing Catholic School Nun discipline and fearing that you’ll break your streak and ruin your life by skipping a day) you came to your desk from joy, excitement, and love?

I write almost every day. I’m writing a million words this year, but it’s not because I have to. It’s not good or noble. I write all the time because it’s the most fun thing I’ve ever done that also makes money. Creativity isn’t your grunt. Don’t force it. Ask nicely. Give it what it needs (skill, inspiration, trust) and it’ll come out of hiding and into the sunlight.

I want that for you.

Wonder why? Try What Does a Writing Coach Do (4 mins.)

xo, megan

Thanks for giving this a few minutes. I hope it felt supportive.

I’m a f*ckin’ friendly writing coach.

Let’s see what an hour with me can do for you. Get treated with honesty and respect. Bring your work-in-progress, your goals, or your frustrated blank page. Sliding scale; no ongoing commitment; just an hour to work on your writing. See me in a private zoom to put my 20+ years of experience on your side.

curious/confused?: what does a writing coach do (and not do)

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