Sunday, April 01, 2007

Writing/Not Writing Every Day

I’ve heard the saying: You’re not a real writer unless you write every day.

I laugh whenever I hear it. I’m not sure there has ever been a time in my life when I could count on writing every week much less every day. The thing is, I always met my deadlines. I always got the writing done on time—just not by writing every day.

I mention this because as you’ll notice there’s been a gap between my last post and this one. Life happened. A family crisis came up and that took precedence over posting here.

So what can we do when life happens? For me, a key is always to have a notebook handy. Even when I can’t get to the computer to write, I can brainstorm ideas, flesh out characters or plot, make notes about a project. Sometimes I can write bits and pieces in longhand. If I can’t concentrate to write, I may be able to read—and analyze what I’m reading for what works and what doesn’t.

I don’t stop being a writer when I can’t write—the process just changes for a bit. Often when I go back to the actual writing the time away means that I sit down and write with renewed energy and ideas. Key to the success of this is that I’ve learned to make notes for myself each day that I do write as to what I need to write next. That means that if a crisis of any kind arises unexpectedly, when I do get the chance to sit down and write, I can look at my notes and dive in—rather than needing to reread everything to figure out what comes next.

So...the ideal if one is a writer is to write every day. The reality is that we find ways to write if it matters to us but not necessarily every day and the process will be different for each of us. The key is to know what works for YOU.


PS I wanted to thank Gaelen Foley for mentioning me in the dedication to her latest book HER ONLY DESIRE. It's a fabulous book, of course, and she's a real sweetheart.