When NOT to Write

There’s a lot of advice going around — and I’ve said it too — that you should be writing every day. There are apps devoted to helping you meet your daily word goal. There are websites devoted to motivating you to write. All in all, there seems to be a message that if you’re not writing every single day, then you’re not a “real” writer, and I’m here to tell you that’s wrong.

If you want to get better at writing, is it good to write as often as possible? Of course. Practice makes perfect, after all. However, you need to also know that it’s okay to take a day off. It’s okay to say, “I can’t do this right now.” It does not make you any less legitimate.

If having everyday writing as a goal is giving you anxiety, you can get rid of it. Your mental health is important.

If your writing schedule means that you’re getting behind in work or school, you can scale back.

If you’re losing sleep trying to meet your 2000 words a day, stop and make sure you get adequate rest.

If you want to write professionally, writing every day is important — but in this case, “every day” really means “most days.” You still need to take care of yourself. You still need to make sure that you’re happy and healthy and doing well in other parts of your life. Writing shouldn’t be a chore, and it shouldn’t be something that you grow to resent or dread.

So if you’ve been stressed recently from New Year Resolutions about writing every day, take the day off. Go do something you enjoy. And tomorrow, keep in mind that this is not life-or-death.

Give me your thoughts.

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