Daily Practice

      About five years ago, I made a commitment to write daily. How many words? It doesn’t matter; the act itself does. Sometimes I put in hours, sometimes only thirty minutes. Now that I’ve retired early from academic work, I look forward to many days as a full-time writer. However, while I was packing, downsizing, moving across the country, unpacking, and doing all the paperwork of setting up in a new place, I only had time to write a paragraph each night before going to bed. So why did I bother?

One, it kept me in touch my work in progress. Even the briefest engagement with it feeds the underground springs, the aquifer of ideas. As long as I make that daily connection with the characters, they stay alive in my mind and show up to join me, in a way, while I’m doing things like walking or running that tend to promote creative free flow.

Skill is the other reason I keep the daily commitment. Like practicing yoga daily, writing keeps my verbal skills flexible and my imagination in shape. In one of my brief writing sessions while on the road, I came up with some lines I love so much I’m afraid they may be darlings I’ll have to kill. Nonetheless, they gave me insight into a character’s thinking about relationships and intimacy, an “aha” moment inside his head.

I take breaks from individual books. I’m working on Book Seven while Book Six is being critiqued, and then I’ll get back to revisions on Book Six while Book Seven rests. The separation from each story helps me see it with fresh eyes, but so far I don’t want a break from writing.

Do you take some days or weeks off between projects or do you write daily?


9 thoughts on “Daily Practice

  1. I attempt to write every day. Most always I do. I work full-time as a paralegal, but my boss is often out of the office. When I’m caught up on my legal work, I jump on the computer and write as much as I can get away with writing for that day. I also wake up between 5 and 6 to write from my home when something is desperate to climb out of my brain. After work is a no-go for me. My granddaughter and her three children live with me. Nothing at all gets done in the evenings.


  2. I “write” (or rather, revise other people’s writing) every day at my day job. As for my personal writing, I don’t do it every day but that’s due to exhaustion than slacking. Some days the office job wears me down, and there’s always the household chores. I try to get in some writing down on weekday evenings, but I dedicate Sundays to writing. Daily writing is a good goal and maybe soon I’ll get there.


  3. I write about 5 days a week–most of the time. However, I have other writing that I do that brings in cash, so sometimes I’ve got to do that before what I prefer to write. I write 2 books a year–but I am really slowing down. If you really want to be a writer, you need to make time to write–and keep at it. Good post!


  4. Writing is both a talent and a skill; when I taught writing arts and argument/research at the university, I always told my students that anyone can write as long as they practice, but not everyone can write well, as that can be considered an artistic talent.


  5. I need to make this commitment as well as one to relocate; your posts are very helpful to me: I think of my characters and dream of them, as well, but my days are spent working on academic standardized tests and my evenings reading three books for review.


  6. With few exceptions, I write daily. The latest exception was a 2-week trip without computer. My characters weren’t far away, though. Kyle and Lyssa selected one of the ports of call as a splendid spot for a murder and a fascinating destination for both of them. The time away from writing allowed them to speak up about needing a powwow. In Kyle’s words, “You’re plotting out my whole future here, and I want more say in it!” I completely agree.


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