I’ll be honest: I’ve never been a consistent writer. I have an interesting relationship with writing, one that is very hot-and-cold. During NaNoWriMo, I wrote 50,000 words, averaging to 1,667 words per day, and then I barely wrote for four months. Then I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo, and added 1,000 words per day to my work in progress, and I’ve barely written since.
Even when I was younger, I would write in frenzied spurts and then my notebook would gather dust for a few weeks. The cycle would repeat itself, over and over, my writing being guided entirely by emotion and inspiration.
There’s something about this hot-and-cold cycle that doesn’t seem healthy to me. It’s almost like binge-writing, where I write until I can’t possibly write anymore, and then I have to set down my pen and take a long breath.
That being said, I know from my NaNoWriMo experiences that a daily writing goal also doesn’t seem to be healthy for me, at least not in a long-term perspective. Unlike binge-writing, this seems like a writing-diet. And while it may work for a while, it doesn’t seem sustainable.
So here’s what I’m thinking, what I’ve been questioning the past few weeks:
How do I create a writing schedule that makes space for both times of incredible inspiration and times of much-needed rest?
How do I create a writing schedule that makes me feel good and accomplished about my progress without making me feel guilty when I don’t meet my goal?
Because here’s the thing: I believe that being disciplined about writing is important. I have no doubt that writing every day would make me a better writer. But I don’t believe that having days, or weeks, or months where you’re not disciplined are bad. I don’t believe that taking a day off from writing will make my writing worse.
I believe that writers are people who feel bad about not writing.
But I don’t believe that writers should always feel bad when they’re not writing.
While many writers praise a daily writing routine, my experience has made me wonder if a daily writing goal is right for me. If a daily writing routine works for you – by all means, keep it up! I am not saying that a daily writing goal is wrong or bad, I’m just trying to work through if it’s right for me, and hopefully, figuring out if there’s another way to feel dedicated, and disciplined, without guilt, for writers who might not respond well to a daily writing goal.
If you’re interested in following me on this journey to creating a personal writing routine and schedule that doesn’t follow the “write ____ words every single day” formula, I hope you’ll check back in next Wednesday for Part Two. I’ll be sharing a worksheet to help you determine your writing goals and how a flexible schedule or routine can work along side that without adding unnecessary pressure.
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