Why writing every day is essential if you consider yourself a writer.
For over a year now I have written every day.
Sometimes I might just write the key events of the day in my journal in staggered, broken sentences. At other times I fill pages and pages with thoughts, ideas, problems, issues, moans and rants, which in some instances even comes out as something moderately eloquent.
Most days though I try and write a blog post, and I'll try and write something creative outside of my blog and journal, which might be a piece for work, a newsletter or just some fiction or non-fiction I am working on.
But, I write.
Before I wrote every day and called myself a writer, I felt like an imposter. Now that I write every day I feel like a writer.
A writer doesn't need to be published to be considered a writer, any more than a musician needs to have had a Top 10 hit before he can be classed as a musician. Writing is just something you do, regardless of outcomes.
Writers write because they have something inside of them that they need to get out and words seem to be the best way to try and express that.
Writers write because they love how when words are strung together they create something greater than the sum of their parts.
Writers write because they love that they can make other people feel something just by reading the words that they have strung together.
But, writing can be lonely work. The voice inside your head can be loud sometimes. The distractions seem impossible to avoid. The doubt and insecurity don't ever seem to go away.
So it's brave to sit down and write. It takes courage. It takes persistence.
Just about the best book I have ever read about the writing experience is Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird, I highly recommend it. Lamott describes the joy and pain of being a writer in a sincere but also hilarious way.
So, we write. That's what we do. While philosopher Descartes said, "I think, therefore I am." I believe the phrase "I am, therefore I write," sums up the experience of being a writer more accurately. Writing isn't something we choose to do, it's something we have to do, almost like a scratch that can't be itched.
So the practice of writing every day is not only so that we improve as writers by honing our craft, but it's also so we improve as people by releasing our tensions.
You won't write flowing prose every day, maybe not even every week. That isn't the point. It's really good for you to have bad writing days. It silences your inner critic when it realises that you are at peace with the process of writing, free from the pressure to turn out a masterpiece every time you sit down and write.
Writing every day is just like exercising a muscle that you build up over time at the gym. It takes time but you gradually build up strength, and in writing terms, you build confidence in your ability.
Writing every day also helps you to find your voice. You might start out imitating the style of a writer you admire but eventually, your own style emerges.
Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto says,
“Start copying what you love. Copy, copy, copy, copy. At the end of the copy you will find yourself.”
But, the most important thing is to write. Something. Every day.
See where that takes you.