Tag Archives: routine

Authors Answer 122 – Should You Write Every Day?

This month, we return to regular questions and answers, but we have a theme for the month. We’re looking at common advice that may be considered either bad or good advice. We’re starting off with how often we should write.

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 122 – Write every day. Do you agree or disagree, and why?

Tracey Lynn Tobin

Although I might possibly be the worst person in the world at actually adhering to this advice, I do actually agree. In order to be a writer, you have to write, and write a lot, so the best way of accomplishing that is to write something – anything – every day. In that way it becomes a habit, something that you do automatically. Additionally, if you’re writing daily – even if it’s not anything that goes toward your current WIP – you’re getting lots of practice in, and that is never a bad thing. The more you write, the better you’re going to get, and even if what you’re writing is complete crap, it could eventually become something that you come back to and turn into a masterpiece.

Gregory S. Close

Sure, write every day.  If you can.  If you can’t, don’t waste any time worrying that you aren’t writing every day – just write when you can.  It’s great to set goals, so if a realistic goal is writing x amount of words every day – then set it.  If it’s not a realistic goal, then please don’t.  I would substitute “consistently” for “every day” and that’s a more accurate measure.  Write consistently, push yourself when you can (don’t just let yourself off easy), but there’s not a hard and fast rule that says you have to write every day to be a good or successful writer.

Jean Davis

Disagree, sort of. Should you try to write every day, sure, it’s a good way to train your brain to be productive, but my writing also benefits from taking a break for day or two when my creative juices run dry or my head just isn’t in the game. Forcing myself to pound out words I know are no good or stare at a blinking cursor isn’t good for me or what I’m trying to write.

C E Aylett

Yes, I do agree. Writing every day gets you into the habit, then you find you can’t NOT write. I also don’t believe in waiting for inspiration to hit. That may have worked well back in the days of the Brontë sisters when the aristocracy had nothing better but to gaze out of their country manor windows, but in our current lifestyles, when so many things compete for our time, we have to
set aside time for it. Once you make it a part of your daily routine, ideas begin to pop so fast you can’t keep up with them. Also, if you are working on bigger projects, keeping them in mind on a daily basis, even if it is only writing 100 words, keeps you connected to the story.

In saying that, I have writing bouts. Usually in the school holidays I don’t work much on novel projects, and I can go for several weeks not really writing anything. Maybe I’ll edit instead and leave the creation of new material for when the house is quieter. Once I get back into it, I’m on it every weekday. Weekends I reserve for writing blog articles.

Either way, some sort of writing or editing will occur on a daily basis.

Beth Aman

Somewhat agree.  There’s definitely something to be said for writing consistently, for setting aside time daily to meet with your story.  That’s part of the beauty of things like NaNoWriMo: they force you to stay in your story, to keep your head in the game.  HOWEVER.  If you have a life outside of writing, it’s not necessarily practical to write every single day.  And it can be counter-productive to teach people “you must write every day or else you’re not a writer.”  The important thing is to write whenever you can, and to forgive yourself when you can’t.

Eric Wood

I guess it depends on why you’re writing. If you’re writing a book with the hope of being published to make money then I would say yes, write every day. The more you write the more the ideas will flow. I count the editing process as writing, too.  If you’re just writing a blog as a hobby (as I do) then write just enough to keep you interested. If your interest feels more like work than play then it’s no longer interesting.

D. T. Nova

The fact that many writers simply can’t do this should not be minimized.

I would say “Write on every day that you reasonably can.”

Cyrus Keith

Of course, write every day. You want it to be a job? Treat it like it’s your job. In a good way, that is. But still, discipline yourself. Many pro’s have daily word quotas, even if it’s unassociated drivel. You’re a writer. Write. Stay on rhythm.

H. Anthe Davis

I agree with making an attempt at this.  It’s one of the things that pushed me from only periodically hacking at my manuscript to actually making leaps and bounds of progress, and publishing three books (with two more still being worked on).  I used to feel that I could only write when I was inspired to, and while that still stands for short stories (which otherwise I hate writing with every fiber of my being), with novels there’s a lot of material that’s just setup, or explanation, or rough-draft raw material that doesn’t require you to be possessed by the creative fire at the time.  I’ve found myself far more capable of writing decent text even when I feel like a lump of crud; this delusion I have that I’ll forget how to write if I’m in a mood or put it off too long is, indeed, just a delusion.  Most of the work in writing is the refining of the drafts anyway.  What you put out from day to day isn’t the final version that everyone will see.  So even if it does happen to be sludge, it’s the sludge of progress.

That being said, everyone needs their rest days, or has days when opening the document is just too much stress.  Still, constant progress is a good habit to get into, as is understanding that every word doesn’t need to be perfect right as it’s first spilling out of your pen (or keyboard).

Paul B. Spence

Disagree. I write when I can. I have a life, career, etc., outside writing. I write well when I think about my subject and let it percolate in my brain. Seems to work for me. If you average the number of words I write in a year, it comes out over 500 words a day. So even when I sleep, I’m writing. *grin*

Jay Dee Archer

In principle, it’s a good idea to write every day. Realistically, I don’t think it’s possible for most people. If you do it full time, then write as much as you can. If you want to write every day, then go ahead and do it. But even authors need to have days off. Between books, some authors may take time off to promote their books, go on signing tours, and so on. But do they write during that time? Some might, some may not. Personally, I’ve been terrible at writing my book every day. But I do try to write something every day, and that is this blog. I’m doing something, even though it might not be fiction.

How about you?

If you’re an author, do you agree or disagree? Should you write every day? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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The First Real Day of School

This morning, I took my daughter to school. She went into the school by herself when the teachers came to let them in, and she did everything herself. I went home.

Less than three hours later, I went to pick up my daughter from school, and wasn’t exactly sure what we were supposed to do. Turns out we had to go to the classroom and stand outside. My daughter came out and told me that her classmate had a birthday and they all got a cupcake. She was also given goldfish crackers.

As I walked her home, she told me about her day. She didn’t get to play with playdough, but she got to colour and cut paper. She said her teacher got angry at her twice. First was when she took too long to wash her hands. She has this bad habit at home, too. She stands with the water just flowing over her hands and does nothing else. She knows how to wash her hands, but for some reason wastes water. She cried when she was told not to take so much time. Second, she put her finger in the pencil sharpener. She didn’t cut it, since the teacher stopped her. I wouldn’t say her teacher was angry, though.

There are so many things to do. I have to fill out and sign some forms, we may have to buy a shirt for her in her group’s colour, and we can order books for her. She’s going to have a full day field trip next month, too! But the thing that confuses me is tomorrow’s school assembly. It’s in the afternoon, but she’s a morning student. Is she supposed to go? I’ll have to ask tomorrow morning when I take her to school.

It’ll take some time to get used to her going to school and dealing with the correspondence with her teacher, making sure she’s reading a book every day, doing her weekly homework, and deciding whether we should buy her books and a school t-shirt. Lots to think about!

Authors Answer 72 – Writing Targets

A full-time author’s job is to write. For many of them, they spend a full-time job’s amount of time writing, editing, promoting, and doing many other things for their books. But many authors write only part-time, as they often have a non-writing job. But they tend to have their own routine, or some just do it whenever they can. How about our authors?

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 72 – Do you have a daily or weekly target for writing? What is it, and how do you achieve it?

S. R. Carrillo

For the past 2 or 3 years, I have made monthly goals of writing, at a minimum, 10,000 words on any given project. It’s a realistic goal for me – especially since I was playing G.I. Joe when I made it.

As for how I make it happen – I simply make it a priority. I finish a scene, start a new one, outline an idea for further down the line, edit some lines that were bothering me, all until I meet my goal. If I don’t, I work harder at it. If I do, I keep going. ^_^

Elizabeth Rhodes

It’s been so long since I was actually writing a new story (I’ve spend most of my time editing and then releasing/promoting Jasper) that I haven’t yet established a habit. In a perfect world I’d be writing a thousand words a day, but that’s definitely not happening right now. I don’t hold myself to that goal, but I plan to get a chapter down per week at minimum.

H. Anthe Davis

Normally I have a target of 2-3 pages per writing day, and I write five days a week.  I write before I go to my Day Job, so 2-3 is about the amount of writing I can squeeze in between gaining full consciousness and being forced to run out the door.  There are two writing-days where I don’t have the Day Job hanging over me, so sometimes I get 4-6 pages in, and there are always outlier days where I get up to 8 because I feel very motivated.  My main goal is to get -something- down on the page, and keep pushing at it until I have to break off for the day.  It’s just persistence — and a steady schedule I guess, because my Day Job schedule was wacky for most of February and totally threw me off my writing game.  Hopefully by the time this posts, I will have gotten back into the proper swing of it.

Eric Wood

I don’t really have a target. Though I do try to write daily posts for my blog. I attempt to write at least 500 words per post. Sometime they’re longer. Sometimes they’re much longer. Sometimes I fall short. I certainly don’t beat myself up over it. If I succeed great. If not, I’ll try again tomorrow.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

I definitely should have a daily or weekly target, for motivation purposes if nothing else, but I don’t because it would only set me up for disaster. That may sound a little jaded, but since my day job requires me to work 12-hour days for 14 days straight, there are often periods of days at a time during which I simply cannot write unless I’m willing to give up even more sleep than I already lose while on shift, so trying to hold myself to some kind of target just doesn’t do me any favors at all. I mainly just look at my monthly totals and then try my hardest to beat that total the following month.

Jean Davis

Ideally, I aim to write a thousand words a day if I’m working on a novel. Some days life happens and I don’t write at all. Other days I get two thousand words in. It seems to level out. When I’m in short story mode, I aim for half of that because there’s a lot more thought involved to be concise when transferring the story in my head onto the page.

D. T. Nova

Not a very specific one. I’ve gone through periods where I had the goal of always wanting to get something substantial done every day, but allowed enough flexibility that it achieving wasn’t an issue. Unfortunately, I’ve been having trouble with it recently due to personal reasons that have nothing to do with writing.

Linda G. Hill

My daily target is to write something. Anything. Even if it’s a sentence. I achieve my goal (sometimes, not always) by tying up my son, gagging him, and then ignoring an hour’s worth of pleas to be let loose. … yes, I’m joking. I just ignore him for two minutes. It’s about all he can take. 😉 But seriously, I’d love to spend hours every day working on a novel. The only time I seem to manage that is when I put my nose to the grindstone for NaNoWriMo.

Allen Tiffany

No.  I push relentlessly on writing and marketing my work, as well as learning about such things, but I have no word count goal. And I don’t think such things are conducive to good writing (just my opinion). I much rather mull things over, add, delete, rewrite, rewrite and rewrite. I have great confidence that problems with my story, the plot, a character’s motivation, etc., will eventually resolves themselves (often in something of an epiphany) if I give it enough time and thought.

Gregory S. Close

When I was writing full time I would set goals – usually tied to scenes rather than word count.  Now, I’m just happy to get writing time in at all.

If I can return myself to a routine, then writing first thing in the morning yields the best results, leaving time to edit the prior day’s work in the afternoon or evening. Getting something in every day (or at least 5 working days a week) is really key to establishing a good rhythm.

Paul B. Spence

Not really. When the mood strikes me/life gets out of the way/stress decreases, I tend to write a few thousand words a day. If you average it out, even on days I don’t write, I ‘write” a thousand or so.

Jay Dee Archer

I’m in a unique situation right now, so I don’t have any targets at all. Since I’m moving half way around the world, I can’t concentrate on writing. However, after the move, and once we’ve gotten everything settled, I can finally get myself into a writing routine. Ideally, I’d like to write at least five days a week and achieve a minimum of somewhere between 500 and 1,000 words. More is fine. But I can’t really say until I’m able to write, and see where I feel comfortable. With so many unknowns, I can’t really answer this very well.

How about you?

If you’re an author, what kind of target have you set for yourself? Let us know in the comments below.

Missing the Details – Going on Automatic

I’ve noticed something when I’ve been in a place so many times I couldn’t count how often I’d been there.  I go on automatic.

As I was making my way home tonight, I looked around at things, but didn’t really notice them.  It’s as if my body was looking, but my mind wasn’t seeing.  My mind know where everything is, so completely missed the details of what’s there.

When I commute using the same route all the time, I just don’t notice much. My body is automatically taking me to my destination, looking around, but my mind is thinking about other things.

When I came to Japan, I didn’t have this kind of feeling. I looked at everything and I saw everything. I took in all the details like I was looking at something for the first time. Well, I was looking at everything for the first time. Everything was so different. It was fascinating, and I wanted to learn about every single building and place I was walking past.  But over time, as I walked that same way over and over again, it’s as if a fog was separating my vision from my consciousness.  My body was seeing, but to my thoughts, everything was in a fog.

Of course, this isn’t a permanent problem. I can stop that from happening by forcing myself to observe. When I do that, I tend to relax more and it stimulates my mind. I think a writer needs to do that. Clear the fog in the mind and start concentrating on what’s around.

Superbowl? I Have Better Entertainment

There will no doubt be comments today about the Superbowl all over Facebook and maybe even at work.  I work with some Americans, though I’m not so sure how much they’re into football.  But you see, I have no interest in it.  I’ve been to a couple Canadian football games, enjoyed the atmosphere, but had little interest in the actual game.

Here’s what I’d rather do:

  • Read my WordPress reader.
  • Wait for my daughter’s nursery driver.
  • Watch Winnie the Pooh in Japanese.
  • Put together my daughter’s toy into a triangle shape, and have her repeatedly say, “Triangle, triangle.”
  • Watch my daughter pretend to fall down.
  • Write this blog post.

So you see, I have some far more interesting things to do.  And yes, the above list is a typical morning for me.

Bonus:  This is my 800th post!

Changes

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As you can see, the leaves are changing colour here in Japan. But there are some other changes happening, and some I need to do.

What’s happening has a lot to do with my daughter. She’s approaching three years old, and the biggest change is her ability to speak. She’s getting more conversational all the time. She’s also getting quite defiant when she doesn’t get what she wants.

There are some things I’d like to change, though.

First, I want to change how and when I write. Any moment I have alone, I should try writing, unless I’m too tired. Mornings when I’m by myself and lunch breaks at work may be the best.

Second, I need to get more reading time in. I tend to read only on the train and sometimes during lunch breaks. I should read at night before I go to bed. I’d get much more read. Maybe I’ll make my 30 book challenge next year.

Another change is that I want to spend more time in the countryside. Trees would be nice.

And so, here are some maple trees for you.

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What do you want to change in your routine?