There is an article traveling through the Facebook writing pages about an author that wrote a book, quit the day job to write a second, then panicked when it didn’t happen. She went back to working day jobs, still unable to write, because…lots of reasons. Why? Because working two jobs sucks!
Writing–whether it is full-time or just during your lunch break– is a job. A hard job, that you can’t leave behind when you go home for the day. It’s in your head, ticking away, plotting, noticing characteristics of the people around you, keeping track of stories, watching TV with you, and playing with your dreams. You can ignore it, stop writing for “reasons”, but it’s still there. You can try to switch to another hobby. (Good luck with that.)
Or you persevere. You edit, revise, edit, submit, revise, submit, etc… At some point you get accepted, or push that publish button yourself. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you are done. That’s not the way an artist’s brain works. We’ve all seen the warnings; the wise advice from prolific writers. Don’t ignore the danger signs, like the author from that article did.
This is why you try to write every day, people! Finished that manuscript? Find another project the very next day. Write anything. Don’t lose that momentum. Find the next thing you are excited to write. Even if you type random words for days, even if everything is a steaming pile, keep going. Carve time out of each day that you can. Revise as much as you need, just don’t forget to play with fresh thoughts. New thoughts. Exciting thoughts. Scary thoughts.
Family crises? Journal it. Short of ideas? Find daily prompts. Sick of novel length? Try flash fiction. Can’t stick with it? Try a writer’s group that will poke you. Blog. Tweet. Engage in pointless Facebook commentary. Jot limericks on napkins.
Do I write every day? No. I suck at it. I’ve fallen between projects, so I know exactly how hard it is to get up and get going again. You have to forgive yourself, and push yourself harder. Eventually the mind starts working again. A couple of years back I did write every day, for a year and a half, so I know what it is like, and it was good. Damn good. I want it back. I crave it. Food, drink, air, & words.
Place your hand on whatever book you respect and say it with me. “I solemnly swear I am up to no good.”
Wait. Wrong promise. Let’s try that again.
“I promise to find a way to write every day.”
Find. Write. Every. Day.
Do it for you. You deserve it.