No Holidays for Writers
Daily Writing is the Way Most Writers Succeed
Today is Labor Day in the United States, a federal holiday. Most people do not work; they have the day off to be with their families, have barbeques and relax.
But for writers, days off don’t really exist, meaning that most of us work anyway right through holidays. For example, I have the day off from the university today, but I still chose to spend the day writing. This morning, I worked on rewriting my novel, and I’m working on this short blog this afternoon. If I don’t take advantage of this day off to write, I will miss out on the great opportunity to make progress on my novel. No one is twisting my arm or telling me I must work; it’s only my desire to work.
I don’t mind, probably because writing is not work for me. I’m happy for the extra time to spend with my characters and edit. This is my play time, my fun, my relaxation.
Personally, I don’t think writers should take days off. Not that you’re not entitled to a break or to spend holidays with family and friends, but holidays are like gifts of extra time. You’ve been given a gift, so why not enjoy it and spend it on your passion.
When I get the gift of extra time, I always want to use it on writing. I’m like a little kid who’s been given and extra $5 and I run to the store to buy my favorite cookies. Well, these extra hours, I want to apply to my writing.
Steven King gives us another reason not to take time off. He says, “If I don’t write every day, the characters begin to stale off in my mind … I begin to lose my hold on the story’s plot and pace.” When we distance ourselves from our story, it takes time to get back to the same mental place we were when we stopped writing. And holidays are excellent excuses to overeat and drink which makes the next writing day sluggish.
King isn’t the only writer who writes daily. John Steinbeck wrote every day as well, and if you look up many of the great writers, from Hemingway to Maya Angelou, you’ll see that they had a schedule they followed every day of the week, no excuses.
Some writing teachers recommend that writers take days off, that it can help them refresh their mind. I don’t disagree with that. We all need a mental break. If you…