A Writer Writes. Whenever.

“A writer writes. Always.” Says who? Disregarding the physical impossibility — besides writing, one has to eat, sleep, work, do at least a minimum of household and personal chores — this adage simplifies what is a complicated process. Sure a writer writes, that is axiomatic, but every writer is different, and each must find his or her own way.

Writing, like life, is about strengths and weaknesses, and if you don’t find yours, you miss out. Perhaps you are naturally disciplined, in which case you are one of the always writing writers. Perhaps you are naturally undisciplined, in which case you should be one of the always writing writers. But most of us fall somewhere in between: disciplined when we need or want to be, rather lazy the rest of the time. Sticking to a writing schedule doesn’t make a writer, it’s what you write and how you write it that makes you a writer.

Unless you’re a published writer (if you are, will you introduce me to your agent?) or have firm expectations of being one, there is no reason except desire to adhere to a strict writing schedule. Perhaps if you are new to the game it would be a good idea to write at the same time every day for a while to get you in the habit of writing, but once you’ve completed a novel, you’ve proven you can do it, so what’s the point of forcing yourself? It should be fun, and it’s not fun doing something you have to do just because it’s time to do it. The one caveat is to make certain you write enough so you don’t lose the ability or the interest.

I know this goes against all the advice you hear, not just about a writer always writing, but also about needing to act like a professional in order to be a professional. You’re not a professional, and when the time comes, you will act like a professional, but until then it’s important to learn to write, to live so you will have something to write about, to think about what you want to say.

And it’s important to write, because a writer writes. Whenever.

3 Responses to “A Writer Writes. Whenever.”

  1. Christopher Cocca Says:

    I think even when s/he’s not writing, a writer is writing. Doing dishes, visiting friends, eating…there’s always something being filed, observed, judged, explained and in this sense mentally written about. It’s how writers live, how writers think. So, I think a writer writes whenever, but I also think a writer writes always.

  2. Nancy Says:

    Where did that quote originate? (“A writer writes. Always.”)

    I think a writing schedule (it doesn’t have to be every single day, but for many writers it’s five days a week), is a good idea for anyone who is writing with the intent to self-support with their writing. Published or not, you can’t make money by not doing something.

    For anyone who writes strictly for pleasure, they typically write when they have time. People don’t usually schedule hobbies.

    The purpose of writing is not so one can be called a writer, it is to improve your writing, and hopefully, eventually, get published.

    Unless a person is illiterate, we’re all writers. 🙂

  3. nomananisland Says:

    Dude, April 11th is the chapter I was talking about, just so you know :).

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