Wicked Cozy Authors: On Writing Every Day

Novelist and critic Stephen Hunter made some waves—and earned some criticism—for a recent essay on the need to write every day…or quit calling yourself a writer.

At the great group blog Wicked Cozy Authors, I chat about this seemingly tried-and-true advice—not disagreeing with it, but qualifying the whole idea more than a little. Here’s an excerpt from the post, talking about my often disjointed writing schedule and struggles to stay focused, stay on track:

How bad can my flitting from project to project get? Earlier this year (Friday, January 13, in fact, checking back over the Word doc), I woke up with the idea for a story, wrote a couple of pages, sketched out some key plot points, even figured out the final images, all before 9:03 a.m. (again checking the properties on that Word doc)…and then I immediately, entirely forgot about the whole thing. I cannot emphasize how complete my forgetfulness was here. It was only a couple of months later, looking through my computer, that I found a file I didn’t remember, opened it, and—surprise! Where the heck did that come from?

It’s easy to blame any number of factors for why my focus gets frazzled and why I don’t get more writing done, especially during the semester when my teaching schedule demands priority. Lesson prep for the class tomorrow can’t wait til the day after. Grading needs to be done quickly because the students are waiting for it (and often emailing about it). Meanwhile, since I’m not under contract anywhere, no one—sadly—is waiting so eagerly for my next bit of fiction.

I’m not alone. Many writers struggle to juggle day jobs, family responsibilities, and more. Best ambitions or intentions aside, we often end up writing when we can, even if that’s not every day. Does that mean we should quit?

Read the whole post here—and thanks again to Liz Mugavero for hosting me today!