Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How Often Do You Write?

A nutritional counselor once told me to never go more than two days without exercising. She emphasized that it didn't have to be the full-on workout gear/water bottle/appointment at the gym type of exercise. Even 10 minutes of walking around my block was a good start. Some days I could go full out, other days it might be just a little, but above all, frequency was key.

It's a rule I'm trying to implement in my writing. Because I write so much at my day job, it's easy for me to talk myself into thinking that I've "written" for the day and kept my craft sharp.

It's a dangerous assumption. If I leave my novel for too long, subplots get forgotten, I lose track of clues and emotional arcs, and my poor characters hang frozen in time. I once left my heroine stuck halfway through a window when I went on vacation. When I revisited the scene, I had no idea why I put her there. I got her out, but trying to recapture the initial intensity of the scene (as well as the why?) was tough.

It's as hard as trying to get back into some kind of exercise after you've taken time off. Muscles are sore. Motivation is at rock bottom. The entire process is painful.

We all need a break now and then, but I'm trying not to let more than two days go by without digging into the manuscript. So far, it has really helped keep things rolling along. Now, as for the exercise...


  1. I see you point in this post. I would not in any way call myself a writer, not even sure if it is a talent of mine in the least, but I have been editing the past two year of blog books to have published for our family, and I was surprised to see that in a weird way, I think my writing has improved in the past couple of years. Not that I was even going for that, but descriptions seem to be getting better and there seems to be more depth in what my subjects can be. Just something I noticed and it makes you want to write more when you see progress over time. I like this blog of yours! Keep giving us the tips!:)

  2. Thanks, Carrie! Your blog book is such an awesome idea. I guess it kind of comes down to the fact that the more time you spend with something, the more you know about it. (And you are a writer, whether you know it or not... ;))

  3. Lisa, I try to write everyday. Sometimes I only get scant little notes jotted down but I do try to write at least several pages everyday. :)

  4. I definitely admire that, Lisa. All those words do add up!