Recently I’ve been pondering the different ways that we all get to a finished manuscript. There are those who throw themselves in at a tremendous pace and edit for meaning at the end. There are the precision writers who craft every line with an intensity bordering on the maniacal, and then there are writers with a plan who jump the stepping stones of plot until they reach the bank, quite literally. Writers are individuals and as such they write. We write. Each one of us finds our own way, and if we don’t then our manuscript never reaches the reader. There are no rules about how you reach completion, the point is just to get there mostly sane.
One area where most writers agree is that it is better to write on more days than you don’t. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, it is easier to keep the momentum going on a long project if you develop a writing habit. Secondly, the more words you write the more you learn, the more you learn the better you get, you can’t help it. Writers aren’t any fonder of unnecessary work than anyone else. Thirdly, it is the best way to help you develop your love affair with words.
So should we write every day? Well, some people do. Others write most days. Some people write Thursday and Sunday after gym class. Some write in the morning and others write in the night. In the world of the writer there is only ONE should,
When you begin a project you SHOULD finish it.
Try writing more days than you don’t, if that is possible, but there are no rules, no generalisations, no master plan. The way I work probably won’t work for you. You need to discover the way that you work, and remember that there is only the one SHOULD in the world of the writer, don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. Only you can speak for you. Only you can write for you.
While I’m not working what you would call a “regular” job, I’ve been trying to stick to a regular writing schedule to keep me from going rusty. So far I’ve got it nailed down to ‘kay, time to start writ–Ooh look, a new tweet.”
Thanks for this. There’s so much pressure out there, so many people prescribing exact formulas for success (how you should write, when, how often, how much). Not enough people making the point that each person should take all advice with a grain of salt and just do what works best for them, what helps them cross the finish line. Your last two lines really hit it on the head.
Great post and you’re right, you do have to find your own way to express yourself through writing.