I’ll say upfront that I don’t write every day, at least not on something that could be considered a writing project. Sure, I type words every day, but it’s not the same as sitting down and writing part of a novel or story or even a blog post. In the past few months, I’ve felt creatively drained and a part of me wants to take a long break from writing and editing until I feel like myself again. Unfortunately, it’s not really an option because ideas pop up and any writer will tell you they’re difficult to ignore. What happens then, as has been happening lately, is that I’ll start a story and then abandon it somewhere in the first few thousand words. The question here, however, is not if you should stop writing but if you should write every day.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away. A writer writes every day. Those are just a few cliches that I’ve found to be untrue in life. You don’t have to write every day to be a writer, but does writing every day really help you become a better writer? I say, it depends. If you have the stamina, the drive, and the ideas to write every day, you should. There will come a time, as there always does, that those things will dry up. Sometimes it only lasts a week. Sometimes it lasts years. I’d say this is what people call writer’s block. It isn’t a lack of ideas but rather a lack of drive. A writer is a writer no matter what, no matter if they’re currently writing, if they’re published, or what.
Burn-out is a real thing that gets a lot of writers when they least expect it. Back in college, I used to write a new story every other week, from short 500 word things to novel-length 100,000 word stories. I thought nothing of it. It was easy and came naturally, but years later, even writing one short story a month is difficult. It could be because I’ve learned so much more about writing since then – plotting and themes and everything else that needs to be included in a good story – but it could also be that those things have slowed me down. They force me to think and rethink and question my choices. It can be a burden as much as something helpful.
I say, if you have the drive to write every day then by all means, do it. But don’t push yourself so hard that you lose all interest in writing. It’s better to write less and still have great ideas than write frequently about nothing.