Write Every Day Or Else is Baloney

“Write every day if you really want to be a writer and not a poseur” is advice I used to follow, and flail myself whenever I flagged, up until Ten Bits of Advice Writers Should Stop Giving Aspiring Writers by Nick Mamatas:

8. Write every day.
Lots of people don’t write every day and do just fine.

That had never occurred to me, because every writing adviser I’d listened to (credible or not) exhalted this as a sort of manifesto. Thou shalt write every day, or else suffer the demons who drag thee off the proper path, and then thou shalt never be a writer at all. Surely every professional writer does write every day, don’t they? That’s what all these writers spewing advice say. So it must be true.

I admit that my logic in matters that don’t involve code is weak, and I tend to follow dogma. This seems true for a lot of people, so I’m in plenty of company.

So I haven’t been writing every day, and I began to do so again, up until this morning, when my bipolar took hold of my brain and refused to let it go.

And that was when I realized the truth of Nick Mamatas’ anti-advice. I was still a writer, even though my head was clouded with such unbearable dissonance that it was all I could do to not open the car, step onto the dock, and jump into the frigid waters of Puget Sound. As I write this, I’m still screaming inside my head; and although it is soothed by my blog writing, it would not be soothed by my fiction writing. And to tell the truth, had it not calmed down somewhat already, I couldn’t write even this.

I will leave it now to a series of tweets I tweeted, because my brain is starting to check out again, though at least not in a suicidal manner.

My bipolar is fucking with my head. Anyone telling me that this is just llike having a cold and I should work it off is going to be punched.

Yes, colds mess with your head. They generally do not make you think “I should leave the world right now via jumping off the ferry.”

Colds do not make you scream cry, and wish to end yourself because the mental dissonance is whining so high it drowns everything else.

I do tend to write while this is going on, but that’s just me. You should not be shaming afflicted people into writing “through the pain.”

They are not less of a writer because they stop to take care of themselves. To the hardcore “write everyday or you’re not trying”: shut up.

And yes, I totally used “everyday” wrong. It should be “every day”. Thank you, English language.

@pauljessup did point out: “Don’t blame the english language- not his fault he’s the bastard soon of german, french, and greek” which is a very good point.

4 thoughts on “Write Every Day Or Else is Baloney

  1. Sympathies on the bipolar acting up.

    I have never heard of likening it to a cold; that just boggles my mind.

  2. I’m not bipolar but I can certainly empathize with your point of view on writing. I call myself a writer although I have yet to write a complete story fiction or not. I write articles/blog posts. And I do it because I love to write, I don’t get paid. However, I have found that taking a couple of days off from writing each week (maybe not in a row), I don’t feel overburdened by it ever. I don’t get that burned feeling going on.

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