Do You Have to Write Every Day to Be a Real Writer?

by Cheryl Rainfield, the award-winning author of STAINED, SCARS, and HUNTED, 2003

Do you have to write every day to be a real or serious writer? The short answer is no–not in my opinion, any way. The longer answer is that it all depends on what works best for you, and how honest you are with yourself about that. I’ve seen so many books and articles state that you have to write every day to be a “real” writer–but I think that’s people trying to force what works for them (and maybe even for a majority of writers)onto allwriters. Writing every day, no matter what you feel or how your writing is going, works for some writers–but not every one.

Since learning how to write better is left up to the writer to discover on their own, through books, articles, workshops, and classes, unlike other artists where the techniques and lessons are assumed necessary, I think we grasp onto rules about writing as if they are the only way to write. But all rules need to be weighed as to how they fit the individual writer, most especially when those rules are about how we write. Every writer has a slightly–or greatly–different way of writing, and of getting down to writing, that works for them.

I don’t write every day. I know if I forced myself to, my writing on those days would be dry and awkward, a withered version of my usual writing. And I would lose the enjoyment that keeps me going. Days that I force myself to write interrupt the natural rhythm of my books and the cohesiveness of the whole.

I know my own rhythm. I have days, weeks, even months when I don’t write. Yet even when I’m not actually putting words down on paper, I’m still working on my writing–on a subconscious level. My writing is shifted around and story pieces are worked out, even though I’m not consciously aware of it. My creativity is charged back up. And when I sit down to write again, my writing flows full and fierce, and I write passionately, for long hours, everything fitting together easily, clicking into place.

I take my writing seriously. I am driven. I often feel off-balance when I’m not writing, but I know I need the breaks I take from it. That’s the way I work best. The question is, how do you work? Do you know your own patterns, your rhythms? Do you need to write every day, even if only a few pages? Or do you need to write until it feels right to stop, then give yourself permission to take a break and recharge, letting your subconscious do some of the work? Only you can know. Just make sure you don’t use anything as an excuse not to write, or as a way to hold off the fear that sometimes comes before writing. Listen to what feels right for you, and ignore the advice of other well-meaning writers, including myself, when that advice doesn’t fit you. We each have our own way of writing, our own rhythm, that works best for us. Allowing ourselves to work with that rhythm, and to keep on writing–that’s what being a writer is all about.

©Cheryl Rainfield, 2003

Written by Cheryl Rainfield, award-winning author of SCARS, STAINED, and HUNTED

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