Posted On December 8, 2017 by Print This Post

No, You DON’T Have to Write Every Day – by Kimberly Dean

Rules are made to be broken. Well, sometimes they are.  A born pantser, I am so envious of writers who can plot their stories in advance. No matter what your own writing style is, I think Kimberly Dean‘s debut post for RU will resonate with a lot of you.

There, I said it out loud.  I’ve kicked at one of the tent poles of romance writing. “Write every day.” “Daily word count is key.” I’ve heard the “rule” touted by famous authors, and it’s been echoed in articles, blogs, and conferences everywhere.  But know what?  It doesn’t work…  for me.

 

That’s the problem with generic advice.  One size doesn’t fit all.  Writers are unique, with different strengths, weaknesses, and approaches.  When I hear blanket advice like this, I cringe.  We’re not interchangeable cogs in a wheel, and what works for one writer might not work for the next.  Instead of pounding on the “best practices” drum, we should focus on encouraging each writer to figure out what process works best for her/him.

 

I’ll use myself as an example.  I’m a detailed plotter.  There are days when I just sit down with a notebook and concentrate on mapping out my story.  I’m not someone who can sit down at a computer and have words magically come to me.  I need to know where I’m going, so I start out with a synopsis-level roadmap.  As the story line progresses, I need to stop and map out chapters in more detail.  By using this process, I find that I rarely go off-track, I hardly ever cut scenes, and I make efficient use of the time I actually spend writing.

 

Other writers might find my process constricting – and that’s fine.  They know what works for them.  They like the freedom to write by the seat of their pants.  Daily word count might provide the structure they need.  Some authors might have limited time to write.  It makes sense that they’d use those precious minutes pounding out words.

 

However, if I were to force myself to sit down at the keyboard and produce word count every day, I would scream.  I know I’d be wasting a lot of time and producing junk.  I tend to lose track of the story if I write in short increments.  When I sit down to write, I produce heavy word count – all of it previously plotted out.  😊

 

Writing is also only part of the work that authors need to do these days.  We have to find time to promote, participate on social media, blog, and don’t even get me started on the responsibilities of indie publishers.  Then there’s the creative part of writing – dreaming up your stories.  Can I do that while staring at a computer screen and demanding words to come?  No, my best ideas come during walks in the park, while listening to music, or during drives across town.  So how do I get everything done?  I mix things up, and I DON’T write every day.

 

I’ve heard writing likened to a muscle – it must be used or it withers away.  That’s valid, but it’s only half of the equation.  Anyone who weight trains knows that muscles need time to rest and repair so they can come back stronger.  You don’t lift weights daily for the same body parts.  You do upper body training one day, lower body the next, and mix in some cardio here and there.  Rest is imperative.  Without it, muscles become broken down, and you become prone to injury.

 

So do I ever do writing sprints?  Or write on a schedule?  Of course.  It’s always good to keep things fresh, and deadlines can change everything.  I do believe we need to consistently make progress on our projects, and I’m not encouraging procrastination, but most every occupation out there gives time off for weekends.

 

There’s this thing called life that tends to nose its way into the best laid career plans.

 

And there’s a wicked thing called burnout.

 

My point is that we’re all crunched for time these days, and we need to make the best use of every hour we have.  Hitting keys on a keyboard might not always be the answer.  At least, it’s not for me.  After sixteen years in the writing business and nearly forty published stories, I feel comfortable going rogue on this.

***

What about you?  Have you figured out your writing process?  Are you someone who achieves good results with a daily word count?  Or are you experimenting with something new?  What works for you?

***

Bio:

When taking the Myers-Briggs personality test in high school, Kimberly was rated as an INFJ (Introverted-Intuitive-Feeling-Judging). This result sent her into a panic, because there were no career paths recommended for the type. Fortunately, it turned out to be well-suited to a writing career. Since receiving that dismal outlook, Kimberly has become an award-winning author of romance and erotica.  She has written for seven publishing houses, both domestic and international, and has recently focused her efforts on the exciting world of self-publishing. When not writing, she enjoys movies, sports, traveling, music, and sunshine.
Website http://kimberlydean.com/
Follow Kimberly on Twitter @KDean_writer.
Kimberly’s Goodreads Author Page
Kimberly’s Amazon Author Page
LEXIE
Desire is a double-edged dance.
Lexie Underhill works her tail off in hopes of winning her adoptive father’s approval. It’s never enough. The stinging proof? He’s brought in a reorganization expert. As if the prospect of losing her job in the family business isn’t enough, Cameron Rowe’s sexy, intimidating presence makes her palms sweat.
When Lexie’s face appears on a scandalous freeway billboard, her protestations of innocence go unheard. With orders to save the family name—or else—she marches into the bar the billboard was advertising and comes face-to-face with an identical twin sister. Roxie is wild and free, everything Lexie isn’t. Before the night is out, she welcomes the chance to explore her own sensuality.
As she dances wantonly on the bar, suddenly Cam is there, kissing her as if he has the right. The sizzle between them breaks out in four-alarm desire, but Lexie has re-calibrated her life plan. And the equation doesn’t factor in Cam—until she’s sure where his loyalties lie. With her…or her father’s company.

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Discussion

4 Responses to “No, You DON’T Have to Write Every Day – by Kimberly Dean”

  1. Kimberly – Thanks so much for this post, which is especially apropos as we approach the holidays. This is prime time for burn-out for everyone, not just writers. Also, coming hard on the tail of NaNoWriMo, when it can be hard to unwind, this will hit home to a lot of writers. Thanks so much for joining us!

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | December 8, 2017, 1:12 am
  2. Great post and topic. While as a correspondent I wrote to deadlines, I don’t write everyday nor do I go for a specific daily word count. As a plotter, I consider working on the storyboard counts as writing. And so does creating a blog post and blurbs. To me, a word is a word no matter how it is used. Thanks for kicking the tent pole.

    Posted by Helen Henderson | December 8, 2017, 6:54 pm
  3. Helen – I like the way you think. While a blog post might not help meet a deadline, I find sometimes writing something different unlocks parts of my brain that were in low battery mode and often helps my writing get back on track.

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | December 8, 2017, 10:09 pm
  4. I agree totally. It’s all a writer’s work. Sometimes focusing on something from different angles or even a bit off-topic will open up whole new ideas.

    Posted by Kimberly Dean | December 9, 2017, 8:11 am

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