Over on liveournal Deb Biancotti muses on whether it’s really necessary to write every single day in order to be a writer. Surely she asks, citing Jeff Vandermeer and Terri Windling, fallow times can be good for your writing too?
Now because I’m in admin hell and it’s eating my brain (zombie apocalypse admin hell) I am moved to point out the obvious: different methods work for different people. There are some writers who need extended time off; others who don’t.
If I don’t write for a month then I find it very very very difficult to get back into it. And the longer I’m not writing the harder it becomes. My writing muscles atrophy. I need to write—not every day, but at least three times a week—to stay limber.
Obviously, that’s not what works for Deb. Or Terri Windling. But I imagine I’m not the only one who needs to use it or lose it. (Tee hee. Those Americans have a handy motivational phrase ready whenever you need one. Bless!)
When reading advice on writing (or anything else for that matter) you’ve got to remember that the writer is sharing what works for them. Too often people think it’s a command from God on what thou shalt do in order to become a writer. And the thou-shalt-write-every-day command is one frequently handed down. So I can understand the annoyance if it don’t work for you.
It’s also important to make a distinction between writing as a vocation and writing as a profession which are two very different things. I imagine quite a few of the writers giving the write-every-day advice are people who make a living writing. In which case it’s good advice. For the vast majority of working writers a fallow season is a luxury they can’t afford. It would be more in the order of all the crops are lost! I must now go back to the day job.
All of which is spurring me to grab a few hours writing before the next wave of packing horror descends. Bloody zombie admin apocalypse.