Write Every Day

“Write every day” is a common maxim offered to young writers. The idea is that, like a muscle, you have to keep your writing in shape in order for it to get stronger, and, like working out, it’s very easy to let the pressures of everyday life pull you out of the habit.

Not every writer agrees with this statement. One of my instructors, Alison McGhee, doesn’t believe this is a hard and fast rule. She is much more of the mind that each writer must discover what works best for himself and just go with that. If that means writing every day, go for it, but it’s not guaranteed to work for everyone. I concur that this idea makes a lot of sense.

Yet I know that I need to be diligent about writing. It is easy for me to fall out of the habit. So many things distracting me. But the strangest thing distracting me from my writing is writing.

I, of course, have this blog, which got a little bump in readership this week. As a student, I have my coursework, and I don’t have writing classes every semester–it’s all in the luck of what’s offered. I have writing samples to put together for the graduate-school applications I’m submitting this winter.

(This doesn’t even get into reading. As a writing student, I’m not only to read for school, but also “free-read”, so that I am exposed to the best writing out there. This is not easy when you read slowly.)

And I have other obligations, like anyone: my school’s arts/lit magazine (of which I’m an editor), my school’s writing club (in which I’m vice-president), Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus, and making sure I have my domestic, social, and recreational needs met.

In juggling all of this, I feel guilty when any one of these things slips up–and it’s often because I’m busy meeting the obligations.

But I had a revelation over the weekend. On a certain level, writing is writing. It’s all practice–especially as a beginning writer. And it all overlaps. Many of my publication submissions come from my schoolwork. I’m considering reworking blog posts for some of my grad-school applications.

For me, to write every day is not a rule I live by–it’s become a necessary means to keep up on all I have to do.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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About Whittier Strong

Whittier Strong is an MFA student in creative writing at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, with a focus in nonfiction. He graduated from Metropolitan State University with a BA in creative writing. He has special interests in sociology and philosophy.

Posted on 24 June, 2013, in MFA, Personal life, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. I agree with everything you said! I also learned to be more optimistic about my procrastination, because I could be doing so much less than blogging. At least we’re still writing! All the best with your writing and studies 😀

  2. When I first started writing I used to try and do every day after being advised to do so by many people. However ,I much as I love to write, I often found that there were times that I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind and I was doing it simply to cross it off my to-do list rather than because I enjoyed it. Now, I only do it when I feel insipred or in the mood to. I often find that I tend to write more on these occasions and that m.y work is of better quality than it was when I was doing it daily. This, in turn, then makes me feel more inclined to carry on with whatever I’m working on.

    • It’s actually been a common theme amongst all of my instructors to experiment and discover what works best for you, rather than giving lots of hard and fast rules. It’s been a revelation.

  3. It’s funny, as much as I enjoy writing I can definitely relate to the distractions (though I don’t think I have as many as you) that can interrupt my doing it. I probably subscribe to the law of doing it daily myself. Telling myself to do it every day is the only way I can be sure I’ll do it at all.

    • I get that. I am so undisciplined in some areas of my life, like yoga, that require daily attention. It requires being very conscious and conscientious. I often just wish there were a thirty-hour day so I’d always have time to get things done.

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