Would-be writers hear it all the time: “Write. Just write. Every day if you can.”
I first heard this advice from my middle-school English teacher – and the message never changes. Write, write, write.
So there must be something to it, right?
My issue is that such advice, if taken literally, is not always practical. I may not be in a location where I can write every day. I may not be in the mood to commit 500 words to paper (or disk) on any given occasion.
I want such advice to be tempered. Slightly, mind you (for I too believe in the importance of committing to your craft, to your project, to your art). But, let’s face it, a more practical approach might help a lot of writers – reduce the angst, eliminate any sense of failure.
So, let’s try this: “Do something every day that directly affects your writing.”
What about those other activities that enhance the writing experience? Like reading, editing, taking notes (the latter of which is technically still writing, I suppose), researching? Story-boarding and plotting and outlining? Sketching (or finding) a map of the town (the city, the country, the world) your characters live in?
What about amassing experiences in life? You know — the stuff you’ll write about because people want to know what you did on your summer vacation – in Nepal or at 20,000 leagues under the sea?
With a slight modification to the advice, writers will have a chance to grow and improve. As a consequence, your writing will have a chance to grow and improve too. After all, who doesn’t need a good edit every now and then?