Read just about any piece of writing advice and it will say something like, “writers write,” “put your butt in the chair,” or “write every day.” The first one is true. Writers write. Period. The other ones are good advice as well. But the last one, while good advice, I don’t think is entirely realistic. If you’re lucky enough to have writing as your full time job, then yes, it is.
But for the rest of us, who work a 9-5 (8-4 in my case), we should try very hard to write every day. We lose momentum when we don’t write. I know I do anyway. But sometimes, between an 8 (or more) hour work day, the time it takes to get ready for work and commute each way, errands, caring for kids or animals, cleaning, and whatever else life throws in your way, the writing just doesn’t happen.
Whatever the current project, before you know it it’s 11:00 at night, or even midnight, before you can even think about it, and you’re dead tired. Some people will have you think you should write anyway, even if it’s midnight and you’re bleary-eyed. That would be great, and if your body can handle that, go for it! But for some of us, that will simply make tomorrow that much harder.
If I stay up until 1 or 2 writing, I still have to wake up at 7 the next morning. Then I’m that much more tired, and that much less likely to write the next day, and it’s a vicious cycle.
I’m not saying you should skip entire weeks. But if you do, I’m also not condeming you. Heck, I haven’t looked at my novel, barely even thought about it, since last Thursday, and won’t until tonight. I’m not happy about this fact, but I can’t beat myself up over it. That would do no good at all.
Instead, when you have days or an entire week where you can’t write, just accept it. You don’t have to rejoice or anything crazy like that,but simply accept the fact. “I overbooked myself last week, and I’m going to take a lesson from the experience. I will try very very hard not to overbook myself so I have time to write.” That’s all. Then sit down and write the very first opportunity you get.
And if you’re like me, keep dreaming of the day when writing will be your full time job, and you won’t have to worry about life getting in the way anymore. Though if you read any full time writer’s blog, you’ll know that even then, life gets in the way. Not for entire weeks, but for a day or two at a time.
But that’s a problem for when we’re rich and famous. For now, just try to write every day.