The Un-WED Writer

I recently read an article by David Jose Older (find it here) that has completely changed my life ~ my writing life ~ in huge ways. ツ

I am the worst procrastinator.....but the best at it, unfortunately. For so long I've told myself that if I'd just sit down and write EVERY day, it would become a habit and then problem solved!

Except telling myself that never solved the problem. No matter how many times I reminded myself to start writing (just 3 weeks to get the habit started...easy, right?!)...it never happened. That highly regarded golden writing rule did not seem to be in the stars for me.

The guilt came on like a slow burn threatening to devour what was left of my motivation. Wherever I looked, smart, talented people were telling me I need to write every day (WED)! And they knew what they were talking about...even worse, they actually DID it themselves! What the hell was wrong with me?! How could I consider myself a writer if I couldn't even commit to writing every day? Writing is my calling...my passion...so why was this so hard?

Because I'm a failure.

That's what I began telling myself. I fail as a writer if I can't manage to write just a little EVERY day. And it became a vicious cycle because the last thing I wanted to do was write after I'd convinced myself that I'm such a horrible failure. Why bother if I sucked so much?

All that crap thinking left the building when I came across this article. ツ BOOM! It started off by calling the WED rule "nonsense". O_O  That immediately grabbed my attention and sparked a little light at the end of my tunnel of guilt and failure. He wrote about NOT giving yourself hell over it.....but forgiving yourself instead. Give yourself a pass for not meeting some made-up metric in writing that is completely unattainable for some of us. It was so freeing to read those words...like I had broken out of the WED chains that kept me bound...and unproductive.

It's not about creating forced habits...but it's not about waiting for your muse, either. The secret to productive writing lies somewhere in between. The best thing you can do for yourself is find your personal writing rhythm. It's kind of like finding your writing voice. It's not something you can go looking for, really.....you just have to pay close attention. When do you usually find the time to write? When do you do your best writing? When is the most challenging time for you to write? Set your writing schedule to what works best for you.....totally personalize it. Make your own way and trust that flow when you find it. Trust yourself to know when you should be writing and when it's time to take a break.

Once you do find your rhythm, it will become second nature to you....almost like a habit. ツ



Julia said...

Love it! I used to believe tge WED rule, too, and it made me feel bad for having days (or even weeks) when I couldn't do it. This makes much more sense to me!

Gwen Bradshaw said...

Great advise, I don't write every day but I do schedule time for my writing and then set goals for word count or a part of the story and always have rewards, whether it be another sip of wine for every 100 words or a hot both with a good book when I finish the chapter.

Jesse Moak said...

Writing every day, I can see bearing fruit. I see the wisdom in it. But I do not think it is universal. The problem inherent in it, is that you cannot make up hard and fast rules like that for ART. It is true, that if you write every day, it is far better than NOT ever writing. But if you get too caught up in "I should be writing" (which I know all too well, because I SHOULD), you can get locked up.

"I can not help feeling like I have so much at stake,
So I lock myself inside my head, and I just run in place.
So many directions, I don't know which way to go.
I'm so busy doing nothing, I got nothing to show."

Good song lyrics, "New Low" by Middle Class Rut, that definitely apply. Getting locked inside your own head, your own fears and anxieties and failures.

Sometimes, you DO have to just force yourself to write. That is how I finally got my first full book done earlier this year. But I don't know. When it comes to art, you have to kind of make your own rules. Trying to follow what works for someone else, can often fail, because that is what worked for THEM, and they're not you.

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