Why I Write Every Day
By Claire Davon
People think writing is a matter of inspiration. You have an idea, you write it, done. Sometimes that happens to me. More often though, writing is a matter of perspiration rather than inspiration, of sitting down and gutting through it even when I’d rather be doing anything (except, perhaps, cleaning) than write.
The words don’t always come easy. I have a commitment to myself to write a certain amount of words every single day, no matter what, and I stick to that. When inspiration isn’t coming my hands feel like huge clubs pounding down on an uncooperative keyboard but I still maintain that goal. My reasoning is that some words are better than no words and it’s easier to revise than to create (which, as it turns out, isn’t always true, but that’s my thinking).
The upside to that thinking is I often surprise myself. I’ll look back the next day after a particularly frustrating wrestling session with my muse and find, to my delight, that what I wrote the day before is actually pretty good. Or at least serviceable. That’s why I keep to my plan. Nine times out of ten I’ll re-read the work and think “yeah, that works.”
Recently a co-worker told me he was impressed with the amount of writing I did. I told him that if I said he had to write 365,000 words he would be completely overwhelmed and would likely run screaming from the room. But if he wrote 1,000 words a day then in a year he would have that number of words. That is what I do. To me writing is via the drip method. A little bit each day leads to big things over time. That staggering number of 365,000 doesn’t look so scary when you take it in twenty-four hour 1,000 word increments. 500 words a day adds up to 182,500, long enough for any epic fantasy novel. Or in my case, two novels and assorted short stories/novellas.
That’s why I write even when I think that there is nothing inside me to say, when my muse has packed up and headed for Venice Beach and the Internet is calling my name. I remember that just three or four pages a day, multiplied over time, yields big results. It’s not always glamorous and it’s not always pretty, but it is effective. I encourage anyone who will listen (and some who would rather not) to do the same. It’s not rocket science. The fun comes when an idea catches fire and the words sail out of my mind faster than my fingers can type them. I delight in those “ah-ha” moments when all the slogging I’ve been doing takes flight and everything falls into place. I wouldn’t get those amazing times when the sense of rightness rushes over me and I know, I just know, that this story works. I wouldn’t get there without fighting my way through the more painful parts when those thousand words a day seem like an impossible hill to climb.
It’s the method that works for me. It may not work for everyone, but this is the one I’ve chosen. My motto is this: no matter what it looks like: just write! Before you know it you’ll have more words than you can imagine. Even if your muse is enjoying a margarita on the beach.
About Claire Davon