Monday 30 November 2020

Writing Every Day Revisited - The Creative Process



On the last day of NaNo, I just wanted to touch again on the subject of writing every day. I did a piece about it way way back when I was first starting out on my blog (piece found here), and now it seems prudent to come back to it, especially after the piece a few weeks ago about self-care (found here).

NaNoWriMo is an amazing challenge to get through and whether you will be ending it with your goal met, the 50K written, or not, you should still feel proud for all that you've accomplished. At the end of the day, you showed up, and wrote words that you didn't have before. There are really no losers here. Personally, I'm hoping that I managed to write my 24 chapters and 50K, but I won't know until I get there since I write these pieces in advance.

However, there is one nagging worry in the back of my head when it comes to NaNo, and it's not the level of energy expended, but the mantra that you must write every day. I know that as a spoonie, I can't do that, and I also know that a lot of people out there would, and have, found it impossible or too much pressure, and maybe they've felt that doesn't make them a "real writer", and I don't want anyone to feel like that.

Here's a not-so secret secret. I have drafted over 30 books, I have 18 published with my next two gearing up to be published in 2021. People call me prolific, and organised, and author goals, and how productive I am. I always say that it's just the fact that I get to do this full time, that the organisation and all of that is a part of my personality and just sheer luck after years of trial and error. But I don't write every day. I never have.

Why? Because I'm human, I need breaks, I need to have time in the planner to be able to say: okay today is not a writing day. I work most days sure, but the level of work depends just what needs to be done that day. I posted a weekly writing vlog on my authortube channel (found here) and I showed that I do work every day, but I don't write every single day. And you don't have to either.

I know that people think that allowances are made because I achieve so much in the time I do write, but that's just practice, and again all that trial and error and finally finding something that works for me. You don't have to be super organised, or type fast, or write fast, to be valid as a writer. You are valid so long as you write. And it doesn't have to be every single day. You can take breaks, in fact I advocate for them!

While doing something like NaNo, it can be a nice community thing to write every day and hit those 1,667 words you need, but what you need to take from it, is that routine you've created, not the idea that you need to keep going every single day because you will burn out, and it won't be pretty. I've been there, this time last year I was going hard at NaNo so that I could write 32 chapters, and I paid for it in December. And I don't want that to happen to anyone else.

So be gentle with yourself, remember you don't have to be writing every moment of down time you have, take breaks, self-care, and breathe. You're valid, you are a writer, and it's okay if you take your time. It takes as long as it takes, and that's okay.

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