How Often Should Writers Write?
How often should writers write? Or, perhaps more accurately, how often do writers want to write yet can’t? “Should” is perhaps too pejorative, as it enforces an expectation on how often you must write before you’re allowed to call yourself a writer – which is patently obvious.
There are many things that can stop us from writing, collectively known as “life”; you might have heard of it. Being a parent to young children is a big reason; I have a nine year old son, and I’m a single parent, so my days are taken up with a lot of different activities – feeding, ironing, playing, laughing, watching out for sharp corners, arguing about the shape of the fish fingers on his plate… That dramatically reduces my writing output as a result, as does the “income generation” side of life.
This is otherwise known as the day job; there are very few writers who have the opportunity to derive an income solely from writing. It can often be a vicious circle as a result; we don’t get a chance to create a large enough body of work that allows us to generate additional income that will free up more time, and so on.
But there are things we can do. First, we need to decide how much writing actually means to us; are we willing to sacrifice something else, or will our writing wither on the vine as everything else is more important? Is TV more interesting than writing? Then watch your TV, but don’t kid yourself that “one day” you’ll write if you can’t give up the box in the corner of the room.
Perhaps that sounds harsh – I’ve just read it back, and I can concede that point – but it’s a hard possibility that needs considering. I’ve recently subscribed to Amazon Prime, and there are so many amazing box sets on there that I am salivating over. I could spend all my free time happily watching them, but I am also salivating over my writing; I genuinely love my writing, and I am willing to prioritise that over the allure of Prime – with the force of willpower behind me.
We need to face up to a real challenge as writers; we must stop finding excuses as to why we’re not writing. Does the window sill really need dusting now? Does Coronation Street need to be watched right this second? Do you really want to write? Then something else needs to give, and have the courage to give it up.
© Matthew Munson 2020
Available under the Thanet Writers Education Policy
Thanet-based author Matthew has three novels published by Inspired Quill, is an inveterate blogger, and writing is his passion.