The Importance of Writing Every Day

 I love stock photos in all their gloriously generic specificity.

I love stock photos in all their gloriously generic specificity.

This idea has been done to death. Every writing blog has this post in some form or another. And now, like a rite of passage, I'm going to talk about it too. There's a reason this piece of sage advice is all over the internet and is usually the first tip any author will give to an inquiring soul. 

That reason is simple: it's the best damn writing advice.

Doing something, anything, every day creates an exponential effect that's much more than the sum of its parts. Writing a thousand words a day is more beneficial than writing 7,000 words once a week. The consistent daily exercising of your writing muscle (yes, it's a muscle and like all muscles will waste away if not used) produces better and faster writing. It's the cure-all, catch-all piece of advice that everyone needs to hear.

I love this tip because of its simplicity. There's no silver bullet. There's no magical workaround. It strips writing down to the bare essentials: disciplined work and putting words on the page. The workshops and the books and the clickbait Youtube videos are all great if they end up helping your craft. However, none of them have the lean efficiency and economy of this: write every damn day. It's as simple and as complicated as that. Have a good day and knock out your 2,000 words before lunch time? Good for you. Simple. Limp across the finish line at 2 in the morning and haven't been outside once since your coffee? Sucks. Complicated. Brush your teeth and go to bed. Tomorrow can't get any harder. But you got the words down, and that's what matters.

I will shout this tip from the mountaintops until I'm hoarse. Then I'll take some cough drops, buy a megaphone, and keep going. Making the deliberate decision to start writing every day was the most important decision of my career. I read Stephen King's seminal On Writing and decided enough was enough. No more empty dreaming. I couldn't stomach calling myself a writer if I wasn't ready to fight for progress and improve my craft every single day.

The advice worked well for me, just as it will work for you when you commit to it. I've been writing off and on for my entire life. The day I decided to commit to 1,500 words a day come hell or high water, I grew as an artist and as a person. Frankly, it's the ONLY way to become a better writer and finish books and get published. That seems obvious to anyone already doing it but this post isn't for you. It's for those of you who enjoy writing and want to pursue a career but can't find the time or energy. Here's another tip: make the time. Write on your lunch break instead of sitting in your car scrolling through Facebook on your phone. Drop the Netflix binges and dedicate those 12 hours to your manuscript. The time is there if you make it.

In this way, my advice also becomes a sort of initial test for people who think they want to be full-time writers. If you can't sit down every day and churn out a thousand or two thousand words, you might want to choose something different. And that's fine! Think about what you'd rather be doing than writing, turn that into a dream job, and chase it down like a flaming, hell-bound freight train.

Writers don't choose this career because they want to. They choose it because they have to. Because the mere thought of doing anything else feels dishonest. Write every damn day. It will change your life.