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We don't have to write every day

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The process is unique for each of us because each of us is a unique person.

And we have different strong/weak points. A lot of people seem to have trouble finishing a project, so pushing to stay on course may make sense for them. I don't have any trouble finishing a project, but I do tend to rush in before I've fully evaluated an idea. For me, some of the most productive writing time is the pause before I start a new book--when I'm not actually writing at all. 
#31 - October 03, 2015, 08:34 PM
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Mike, Most people look at jobs as being dull and boring. Writing isn't that. Writing is fun and puts happiness in places that other wise would be dull. I do not look at writing as an job because an job has a set time and set days. When you write, you can set your on days and time and wear what ever please you. Even wear nothing if that pleases you.

Some people may look at writing as an job but I think most don't. You would have to ask every writer how they fill about it to say writing is an job.

There are people who write as an hobby, who write as an business and write as an job. That is what I like about writing, it can be what ever you want it to be.
#32 - October 04, 2015, 04:44 AM

And, I think, at different times different types of writing schedules work. It's an ebb and flow kind of thing.

Ree
#33 - October 04, 2015, 04:45 AM

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Mike, Most people look at jobs as being dull and boring.

Mm, well, this may very well be true when looked at in terms of every kind of job in the world that exists, but do most people who are professional creators of children's books feel that way? I don't believe so, at least not judging by the authors and illustrators I know.

Now, I do think it's worth noting that every professional field has requirements that are dull - I've yet to hear of a children's writer who enjoys dealing with 1099 forms, for example. A whole lot of writers understandably dislike being involved in marketing and promotions. I once met a guy who had a permanent gig performing with Cirque du Soleil who disliked having to live in Vegas. I know an award-winning YA author who's genuinely terrified by the communications-related obligations that come along with winning a major award. Being a professional in any field involves minutiae and processes that are tangential to the core work; creating children's books is no exception. But I don't think that automatically translates to the job being dull and boring on a global level. I know and know of a lot of writers who treat their writing as a professional career, but I can't come up with a single person who I've heard say it's a categorically boring career. A difficult career, yes. An often frustrating career, oh yeah. Not boring, though.
#34 - October 04, 2015, 07:42 AM
« Last Edit: October 04, 2015, 07:51 AM by Mike Jung »

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I know and know of a lot of writers who treat their writing as a professional career, but I can't come up with a single person who I've heard say it's a categorically boring career. A difficult career, yes. An often frustrating career, oh yeah. Not boring, though.

This.

I've taught a lot of would-be writers over 15 years of teaching writing. I think I've finally figured out the biggest single thing that holds most of them back: It's not treating their education/learning of craft like career prep. Instead, they keep it in perpetual hobby mode. This isn't so much about what they do as about how they think. Writing books that publishers actually want to buy, doing what needs to be done to make them successful (to the extent you can affect this), and writing your following work on deadlines that may seem far too short (even after you've negotiated them) is very much a career and a business, no matter how much love for it we retain (or don't).

Becoming a traditionally published writer, and then staying published, is one of the very hardest, most competitive careers we can attempt, and yet so many would-bes don't take it nearly as seriously as, say, their neighbor takes going for a nursing degree. Does the nursing-student neighbor study every day during a school term? With only rare exceptions, yes.

That doesn't mean we have to write every day, literally. But I agree with the poster who said the advice probably got started as a concrete way of telling aspiring writers that they have to write regularly and a lot. Once a day slips by, it's easy to lose another, and then another. Once a writer takes on and owns the career-development *mindset*, though, they can do what works for them and know their writing schedule is okay.
#35 - October 04, 2015, 11:18 AM
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 :exactly
#36 - October 04, 2015, 11:37 AM
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For me, writing is like eating chocolate. I don't feel obliged to do it every day, but each day I do it life feels way sweeter that when I don't.
#37 - October 05, 2015, 03:42 PM

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...I agree with the poster who said the advice probably got started as a concrete way of telling aspiring writers that they have to write regularly and a lot. Once a day slips by, it's easy to lose another, and then another.

This seems likely, but I also see and hear commentary from people in MFA programs and whatnot who have it presented as a hard-edged, unambiguous best practice. It seems to be often presented as pedagogical dogma.
#38 - October 05, 2015, 04:01 PM

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"For me, writing is like eating chocolate. I don't feel obliged to do it every day, but each day I do it life feels way sweeter that when I don't."   That is exactly how I feel, Mercedes.

 :flowers2
#39 - October 06, 2015, 03:12 PM

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For me, writing is like eating chocolate. I don't feel obliged to do it every day, but each day I do it life feels way sweeter that when I don't.

So true!!!
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#40 - October 06, 2015, 04:45 PM
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And on other days, I didn’t write a single word. Yes, it’s true. Why? Sometimes, it’s because I was busy being alive. Other times, it’s because the story I was working on simply wasn’t ready to be written yet.

This. This this. I write in fits and spurts, and while I know that I do need to learn a bit more discipline, I also hate the idea that you're not dedicated if you have other things that take up your attention or your emotional energy or if there's just really good stuff on your Hulu queue that day.

who was it that said "a writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people"? That's my life right there.
#41 - October 12, 2015, 05:27 PM

This this. I write in fits and spurts, and while I know that I do need to learn a bit more discipline, I also hate the idea that you're not dedicated if you have other things that take up your attention or your emotional energy...

:yup I'm pretty much the same way. (A couple months ago I was heavy into revising my current WIP, and then in the past few weeks I've found myself getting stuck again. I'm hoping to start back up yet again soon...)
#42 - October 13, 2015, 03:07 PM
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I think maybe "write every day" is the worst piece of advice out there. If I write every day, I end up mush - brain and body. Humans weren't made to go-go-go. We all need breaks!  :hiding
#43 - November 03, 2015, 11:25 AM

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Mm, well, this may very well be true when looked at in terms of every kind of job in the world that exists, but do most people who are professional creators of children's books feel that way? I don't believe so, at least not judging by the authors and illustrators I know.

Now, I do think it's worth noting that every professional field has requirements that are dull - I've yet to hear of a children's writer who enjoys dealing with 1099 forms, for example. A whole lot of writers understandably dislike being involved in marketing and promotions. I once met a guy who had a permanent gig performing with Cirque du Soleil who disliked having to live in Vegas. I know an award-winning YA author who's genuinely terrified by the communications-related obligations that come along with winning a major award. Being a professional in any field involves minutiae and processes that are tangential to the core work; creating children's books is no exception. But I don't think that automatically translates to the job being dull and boring on a global level. I know and know of a lot of writers who treat their writing as a professional career, but I can't come up with a single person who I've heard say it's a categorically boring career. A difficult career, yes. An often frustrating career, oh yeah. Not boring, though.

This. Thank you.

I'm thinking about the various other jobs I've held, and I'm still having. There have been days when it's all business, all the time. There have been days where nothing gets done. There are days that are dull except for a couple of hectic hours when everything seems to be going in all these unexpected ways. Chaos was very difficult for me to deal with. Sometimes, other people would be too much, as well, because their way of doing things was different than mine. And the feedback I'd get, constantly, about my performance is: Otherwise great, but gets frustrated when things don't go her way.

See, I was so caught up in being professional, productive, and not messing up, I was actually making things worse for myself. And I'd have manager after manager tell me, basically, the same thing: the intensity with which I approached my work put others off. I put in too much expectation on how, exactly, every day should go, and when it didn't meet my criteria, even by a little, it was automatically a failure.

I can't help but think: is writing really all that different? Is black-and-white thinking about productivity always helpful? Sure, it's nice to meet your goals... but when you don't, isn't it good to have an overall view of how things are going, as opposed to focusing on one single moment?

I'm with forgiving oneself, me.
#44 - December 06, 2015, 11:05 AM

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I was reading http://www.futilitycloset.com/2015/12/05/best-laid-plans-2 yesterday and I realized how easy it is to stress over what someone says is the rule. I actually started the math on one piece, until I thought 'What am I doing?'
#45 - December 06, 2015, 01:56 PM

Well like for me I don't write every day, I write every day after I've carefully vetted ideas that most interest me before I sit down to pump out a novelette. I used to primarily write whenever the ideas strike me.

In fact as I edited my YA further down the road, the book started feeling more fleshed out after letting some concepts brew a bit on the coffee pot so to speak.
#46 - December 08, 2015, 11:12 PM
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