The Benefits of Not Writing Daily

Yesterday, based on a workshop I'm going to be presenting next week in Nashville, I wrote a post on The Benefits of Writing.

So today's topic is the opposite–the benefits of not writing every day.Rose_pencil_write_244520_l

Here's the deal: there are none.

Kidding!

Well, sort of.  Everyone is different and needs to find a process that works for them.  But for me, writing every day, even if it is for just a few minutes, is the key to having a prolific and prosperous writing career.

But some people think that it is better not to write every day.  Here are some possible reasons:

  • If you force yourself to any kind of rigid schedule, you drum the life and creativity out of your work and what's the good in that? (I submit that you may need to force yourself at first, but eventually the habit kicks in.  Plus, sometimes a bit of structure is good for us creative types.)
  • Sometimes you need to get distance from your work and the only way to do this is to set it aside.  (Too true, too true.  But you have other writing you can do, don't you?)
  • Everyone tells you to write every day, so for that reason you shouldn't.  (Um, maybe the reason everyone tells you this is because it works.)

That's it!  That is all I can think of.  If anyone has more reasons why it is beneficial not to write every day, please let me know.   And please don't think I'm being sanctimonious and holier-than-thou when I go on and on and on about how important it is to write every day.  It is just what works for me, and what I've seen work for countless others.

Now–hit me with some more reasons why the opposite might be true.

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7 Comments on "The Benefits of Not Writing Daily"

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Charlotte Dixon
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You make a good point, Dan, that those of us who write professionally are used to writing all the time, period. And I guess I’ll concede the other point to you. I do believe strongly in the value of reading! It is amazing how many people want to be writers but don’t read. Doesn’t work that way.

Dan Cook
Guest
Dan Cook
The only times I can say with certainty that I didn’t write was when I was on the Empire Builder train from Chicago to Portland during periods where I wasn’t keeping a journal. Did a lot of reading but no writing. But I write to process as well as to make money, so I’m like you, just writing all the time. I think people who are trying to become writers or become better writers might want to give it a rest for up to several days. But that would be so that they can study very good writers and very… Read more »
Derek
Guest
Derek
I would like to get to the root of why I feel I don’t want to write every day. Well, I guess I write every day but not about things I should be writing about. But should I be writing about anything in particular? The minute I think, I’ve really got to get that blog post or article written I feel the block almost immediately! So I sit and wait out the block and whilst doing so, I am writing posts to the blogs of others or on forums, so I am writing anyway! I tend to contemplate how nature… Read more »
Lynn Jordan--Authors Tools Blog
Guest
I agree that there are huge benefits to creating the habit of writing. Also, there is nothing like the momentum that builds up when you are immersed in your story every day. However, I’m just recovering from a situation where I was productive even while not writing. I’ve been very ill and couldn’t concentrate enough to write. I skimmed a lot of information, got lots of ideas, and made lots of notes. So, I never really got out of “writing mode”. Since I just wrote a blog post about it, I guess I’m back to writing again ;). So, not… Read more »
Charlotte Dixon
Guest

Well, you can console yourself with the fact that you really are doing a lot of writing–and all writing counts. But perhaps you can find a way to ease into the other writing you want to get done, like transfer over to it when you are in the flow of commenting on other posts, just without making a big deal of it. Maybe it is the “I have to get that done” that makes you resist it.

Charlotte Dixon
Guest

Wow, Lynn, I hope you are all better now. It sounds like you were digesting and processing alot during your illness. I had a similar situation a few years ago and it turned out to be a huge blessing–I came out of it determined to make my mark on the world and that is when I went back to school for my MFA.

I’ll go read your blog post!

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[…] the virtues of not writing.  (I actually think I wrote a post on this topic–ah yes, here it is.) The talk was presented by one of the MFA faculty, a prolific writer herself.  Yet most […]

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