I think the one advice almost every author has given is that you need to write every day. The idea, from the way I understand it, is that by writing every day we make progress and move forward. It is making writing a habit and routine rather than another obligation we need to find time for.
I do not write every day.
Let me clarify that: I do not write my novel every day. I typically do some writing every day, but it might be for work, for this blog, or for a novel. Even when I work on a novel, I am not focused entirely on writing. I may be more focused on the re-read and editing process. I may be focused on marketing. The key is that I am creating nearly every day.
Notice I did say nearly every day.
There are days when it just doesn’t happen. I am exhausted, I am not feeling motivated, I would rather be doing something else, or I simply forget about it.
For example, this weekend I had a big NaNoWriMo event. We called it the Coffee Crawl and for 13 hours our region bounced from location to location to write. We were in each place for 3 hours. I took half the locations and my Co-ML Matt took the other half. For each of us it was a total of 9 hours of writing.
I had a 6,000 word day.
I wrote 6,000 words in my novel/detailed outline. I wrote 6,000 words only in the Elementals Series. I had an amazing day. In a 50,000 word project, getting 6,000 words written in 1 day is huge and exhausting. I got nothing else done. I had to make sure to get time in for Cedric, since he does require attention.
What did that mean for Sunday? It meant that I had to focus on getting things done. I had to get some sleep, I had to run errands, I had to spend more time with Cedric, and I had to get today’s blog entry started (and finished). That meant all writing is blog related and no novel writing. It means Monday may be entirely focused on work and I may get no writing done.
I don’t care about that either. I can’t care. I can’t beat myself up for not writing. Beating myself up for a choice only makes it harder for me to get back to it.
This isn’t even a regular method to writing. This is November and I write heavily during National Novel Writing Month events. I only start new projects in April, July, and November. The rest of the year is devoted to the blog, the editing, and the re-writing. I don’t schedule what I am going to do, but I have a journal that helps me keep track of what is going on with each project (even this blog).
Why am I sharing this? I suspect there are more people like me out there. That is, those who can’t write every day. Those who don’t want to just give 10 minutes to their writing. Those who feel guilty when they don’t do things just right. Those who will mess it up and use it as an excuse to stop. If writing your book every day doesn’t work for you then don’t do it that way. Find a way that works for you and forgive yourself when you mess that up.