"You must write every single day of your life." -- Ray Bradbury
Ask professional writers what their advice is to those of us who are still struggling along and there is a very good chance that their advice will include some form of the above quote. We've all heard this before. You see it time and again in interviews with authors of varying levels of success. And I'm not going to argue. It is excellent advice. It is the easiest way to move forward on your WIP, to stay focused on your writing, and it is fairly simple advice to follow, right?
Sure it is -- especially if you happen to be single with no kids, pets, parents, friends, or any other living thing that might ask for part of your day. Oh, and of course if you are independently wealthy, therefore eliminating the need for an actual paycheck. Or if you just happen to not have any student loans or rent or mortgage or gas bill to worry about. Yeah, easy as pie. Just wake up refreshed every morning after a lovely night's sleep, open up the laptop and start pounding out the brilliant words.
Don't recognize yourself in the paragraph above? Yeah, me either. The fact is, that I would love to write everyday. It would be a dream come true, but some days it just isn't practical. And a few years ago while the ink was still wet on my MFA, and I realized that I needed to start acting like a real writer now, not merely a student aspiring to be a writer, it was very discouraging to repeatedly hear that the only way to achieve my dream was to find time to write every day. It was discouraging because it smacked of the truth and hinted at my impending failure. I was in a relationship that needed a lot of nurturing at the time, I was working full-time in a job that didn't pay me enough to address the bills that insisted on coming every month. I was living in a city where aside from my significant other, I had no family or friends. It seemed like when I did sit down to write, my heart wasn't in it. Depression was a familiar companion back then, as it had been most of my life. I felt I was just going through the motions, feeling that surely I was in denial. My life was only going to get busier after I got married, started a family, got my career in full swing. There were days when I was sure the only one who believed I could be a writer was me. . . and I wasn't so sure anymore.
The rut grew deeper over the next couple of years. And then things fell apart. My marriage ended hardly before it began. The path I had laid out for my life was suddenly blocked a big friggin' detour sign, complete with flashing lights. By that time, I was working a job that was rapidly becoming more dissatisfying daily, so finding myself single for the first time in a decade, feeling like a huge failure and wondering why I didn't notice when and where I'd lost myself along the way -- well all this was just frosting on the ol' loser cake.
But it didn't take me long to realize I still had the one thing that had been constant in my life for more than two decades: writing. I still wasn't writing every day. And I had to admit, that wasn't likely to happen anytime soon. I just wasn't wired that way, but despite the doubts that had been crowding my mind for the previous few years, I never did stop writing altogether. So I did what writers do best -- I got creative.
Stop back in tomorrow to find out how I found the loophole in the "write every day" advice and accidentally started writing every day.
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