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Old 08-14-2009, 08:18 AM   #51
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I think personally (and I'm sure it has already been said) that the time you devote to writing is just as varying as anything else. People who are devoted to their craft and are able to write every single day have earned my respect. However, writing every single day just isn't for me. I don't think that people who write every day are socially deprived, ignorant or even gluttons for punishment. XD I think they just have a higher dedication to writing. People have varying priorities, things that are more important to them than other things. But if someone doesn't write everyday and they are published and successful, we shouldn't hold that against them and say, "They just don't know their craft!". It is sort of like being prejudiced. "Oh well, they don't write every day, I don't want to read their books." or "Well how do they expect to get published if they don't write every day?".

At any rate, I don't write every day simply because there are times when my home life demands more attention. Then there are days that, after writing for a while, I need to stop and hammer out some details. Sometimes I need to stop thinking about it all together for it to work out for me. If I stress about it too much, I worry myself into a frenzy and then I stop writing for long periods of time.

I believe you should set your own writing pace. Sometimes if you try to emulate someone else in your field, you'll feel even worse if you somehow don't live up to their standards.
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Old 08-14-2009, 08:28 AM   #52
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I believe you should set your own writing pace. Sometimes if you try to emulate someone else in your field, you'll feel even worse if you somehow don't live up to their standards.
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Old 08-14-2009, 08:33 AM   #53
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The main thing is to write regularly, which I define as (a) enough to make steady, meaningful progress on your WIP and (b) enough that you never ask yourself where you'll find time to write, b/c it's an established part of your life. For some people, that has to be daily; for others, it doesn't. Only you can figure out which category you belong to.
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Old 08-14-2009, 01:44 PM   #54
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People who have a routine and write regularly are not 'cooped up with a typewriter'. They're organised and disciplined, both of which are commendable qualities.
True, but I could sense this thread going down that unedifying path whereby writers discuss the dedication to their craft as though it were a competition.

I have to write every day
I have to write every hour
I literally can't breathe without holding a moleskine notebook to my heart.

Firstly I don't really buy it, and secondly it presents an intimidating barrier for aspirant writers who feel they could never equal such lofty standards.

I write most days, but not every day. Sometimes there's something else to do. Sometimes I just don't feel like it. I don't worry about, or feel inadequate.
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Old 08-14-2009, 02:25 PM   #55
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I write enough so that I don't atrophy and turn out a reasonable amount of non-crap.
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Old 08-14-2009, 02:34 PM   #56
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I don't believe you have to write daily. I don't because I need time to ponder things. I'll write consistently until I get to a point where I have to think things through. However, it doesn't usually take me long. In between projects (I can usually only last a week) I start to build the next story firmly in my mind before I actually write anything. I develop a basic outline and slowly pick apart each part. Once I have it completed, then I allow myself to actually start writing.

So I believe that you have to do what works for you. If you are not writing, you should do things to learn about writing. Like beta read someone else's work, send out more queries, improve your website, take a writing class, learn how to better market yourself or your book. Constantly seek to improve ways to exercise your passion in writing.

Now, in general, I do write everyday. I write on FB, emails, chat rooms and here (a lot - this place rocks!)

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Old 08-14-2009, 05:35 PM   #57
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I write enough so that I don't atrophy and turn out a reasonable amount of non-crap.
I think that's the key to the whole deal: Make sure you're having a proper workout given your current strength.
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Old 08-14-2009, 05:39 PM   #58
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If I may...

I think when it comes to exercising your writing muscles, playing to your current strengths means you stagnate.

Play to a strength that's just beyond your own. That way, you'll continually improve.
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Old 08-14-2009, 05:44 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by scarletpeaches View Post
If I may...

I think when it comes to exercising your writing muscles, playing to your current strengths means you stagnate.

Play to a strength that's just beyond your own. That way, you'll continually improve.
Yes, I agree with you, SP

By current strength I mean (to over-extend the metaphor...) working out in a way that will improve your muscles healthily. Reaching beyond your strength but not unreasonably. In the way a personal trainer might recommend. Eating healthy (reading/visiting AW) is also a must.
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Old 08-14-2009, 05:45 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by highlyirritable View Post
Do you think a writer should write every day?

<snip>

But how critical do you consider daily keyboard (or pen and paper) time?
I do think it's important to write every day. I don't think it's important to get words onto paper or phosphor every day.

To me, writing is SO much more than just getting the words down. When I'm puzzling out the story, figuring out character motivations, how to word this description, whether or not this idea will actually make a good story--that's all writing.

Getting the words down is just the last step in story creation, but nowhere close to the entire job.

But I could be strange. I like being strange.
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Old 08-14-2009, 07:37 PM   #61
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Excellent point.

Yet I have known people who truly have no lives and wonder why they have a shortage of ideas/ fuel for their writing.

Real life experience and imagination are equally valuable when it comes to the creative or idea aspect of building stories. Some of us lean more on one than the other, and it varies from story to story as well, but to be truly lacking in either one can be a real obstacle.
I hear you there. It's important to be in touch with the world if you want to write good fiction (or good anything else.)

Having a disciplined routine doesn't mean you devote all of your free time to writing. Fortunately. I'd go nuts.
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Old 08-14-2009, 07:44 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by john barnes on toast View Post
I have to write every day
I have to write every hour
I literally can't breathe without holding a moleskine notebook to my heart.

Firstly I don't really buy it, and secondly it presents an intimidating barrier for aspirant writers who feel they could never equal such lofty standards.
I see what you mean. I don't buy that "I MUST write at all times or I'll keel over and die dramatically with the back of my hand held to my pale brow!" thing, either.

And I can see how the idea that you must make discipline a priority in your life might be intimidating to newbies, but it's the truth. Wherever writing will fit into your schedule, you need to do it with regularity and focus. If that's too intimidating, then newbies don't need to aspire to be professionals. It's perfectly valid to write for fun, or to write on the side and just get a few things published here and there throughout one's life.

But I also don't see the sense in sugar-coating anything for aspirant writers. If you want to be a professional writer, you need to know that eventually you'll need to be the kind of person who can put professional dedication behind your craft. Writers aren't people who clutch moleskine notebooks to their hearts and drift through the sewers crying. They're people who sit down every day -- or at least with a defined and disciplined routine, if not every day -- and work at their job.

Quote:
I write most days, but not every day. Sometimes there's something else to do. Sometimes I just don't feel like it. I don't worry about, or feel inadequate.
Good. You shouldn't feel inadequate so long as you're being disciplined. I don't write every single day. Yesterday I was so tired that I knew if I tried to write it would just frustrate me. I allow myself to write total crap when I need to just get through, but I can only do that with a happy heart when I'm not about to fall over from exhaustion. so I watched a movie and went to bed early instead. I felt fine about that. Tonight, I'm going to write two awesome chapters to make up for lost time. That's how my routine and my discipline work for me. Your mileage may vary.
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Old 08-14-2009, 07:50 PM   #63
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Writers aren't people who clutch moleskine notebooks to their hearts and drift through the sewers crying.
*hides moleskine notebook and returns to surface.
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Old 08-14-2009, 08:22 PM   #64
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It's important to write everyday.

Can't say that I follow my own advice though.

I've been getting better and writing at least four times a week. Not great, but better than where I was at.
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Old 08-18-2009, 11:09 PM   #65
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I don't write daily, but I do make myself write regularly. When I start a new project I schedule tentative deadlines for myself to help stay on track. These deadlines include rough drafts, characterization, etc.

Unless I have about forty-five mins to an hour to sit down and write, I won't produce anything helpful to myself or my WIP. Fifteen minutes just doesn't cut it.
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Old 08-19-2009, 12:21 AM   #66
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Embarrassed to say I haven't made much progress on my WiP since I came back from vacation at the beginning of this month. Although I was revising a different project to begin another round of querying, I haven't written much more than scene goals for the WiP.

Now my story is suffering for it, and I can't seem to get myself back into that "zone" I was in before.

So not only does writing as often as you can improve your skills as a writer, it helps to keep you on track with your writing projects. While I am a huge advocate of letting a finished draft "breathe" for a while, I feel it can be extremely detrimental to the creative process to leave a WiP alone too long.

Leave an unfinished work alone too long and it's more likely to remain unfinished.
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Old 08-19-2009, 12:41 AM   #67
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It may be important to some people to write every day, but it isn't to me. There are no universal rules.
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Old 08-19-2009, 06:53 AM   #68
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I think it's important, but I don't. Not long ago I just got through not writing for a month. Because I wasn't writing I got uninterested in my WIP. I would sit down and tell myself I'm going to write. I never do. But now I'm recovering. I'm finally getting through my hurtle. *cheers*




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Old 08-20-2009, 07:09 PM   #69
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Writing time isn't as important as thinking time. Spend two or three hours every day thinking like a writer. If you have something to write, spend some of those hours writing it.
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Old 08-21-2009, 12:28 AM   #70
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I also don't write every day but I try to as often as possible. I try to write at least every second day. I glad to hear I'm not the only one who doesn't write every day.
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Old 08-21-2009, 12:50 AM   #71
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I let my thoughts tell me when to write most of the time (wow doesn't that sound psychotic)

Anyway, for poetry, I wait for the inspiration to come to me (which happens every other day or so and sometimes every day, it depends on how my week is going).

For my WIPs, I wait for inspiration, or the nagging inside my head. If I haven't written in a while, I feel a tug to work on them, so then I do. And if I'm really excited about working on my WIP on any given day, then I usually do. (especially if a great idea hits me) But I usually do a lot of thinking and coming up with stuff outside of writing stuff down (that I do almost every day).

I tried the whole "write every day till you go nuts" thing, but it drained me too much and made my writing sound very forced and dry after a while, so now instead of me leading my writing, I'm letting my writing lead me. I write better stuff when I do it that way. (it also keeps me very sane and keeps me from talking to myself too much, which was a weird habit I started to develop after I was writing every minute of my free time for a while)
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Old 08-21-2009, 01:33 AM   #72
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I don't write every day. But I think about writing every day. Often while at work at my office job I'm also contemplating whether my WIP needs an extra scene in the current chapter, if a character needs to be revamped, or even if the book should be told in third person rather than first.

But in my writing log I haven't accounted for the thinking process, so it looks like I sometimes abandon it completely for days at a time.

This most recent backing-off time has come up because (as you can see from my signature) I have two novels going: my focus has divided between the two and, well, gotten a bit muddled. It's the first time I've tried doing two at once. I may not be the kind of writer who can do two at once. I'm realizing that.

The thinking process is vital to a writer. It even works for me when I'm reading someone else's book. I'm constantly thinking of how I might phrase a sentence differently, or what bits of text seem to work the best.
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Old 08-21-2009, 06:10 AM   #73
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While I always found it much easier to write stuff when I done it on a daily basis(rather than 7 things in one day and the rest of the week off, as I've done all this year), there is the counter argument of you getting stuck into the one style if you write too often.
It happened Brian O'Nolan(Flann O'Brien) where he spent 20 years writing for the Irish Times after his books failed to gather much attention, by the time his reputation had grown, he was unable to fully break free from his column's persona.

...that's obviously an extreme though.
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Old 08-21-2009, 07:14 AM   #74
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Do you think a writer should write every day?
Yes.
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Old 08-21-2009, 09:49 AM   #75
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Do you think a writer should write every day?
I think it's important to at least try. I don't write every day myself; I sometimes have days where all I do is read over the first draft and look for defects that need to be corrected in the second, but it's still better than saying, "Oh, well, I got writer's block today".
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