Betsy Whitt

I read. I write. I think. I live.

On Not Writing Every Day

It’s hard to describe how much better your outlook becomes when things are moving along on schedule.  When things are ahead of schedule (as they are right now) I find myself getting downright rebellious about some things.

I’m learning more and more about my personal writing process – what works, and what doesn’t – and I’m finding that the age-old advice that says “always write, every day” just doesn’t work for me.

I write best in bursts – four to five thousand words in a day or two, followed by several days of no writing at all. Those days give me a chance to think things through, to stew and brew, as it were.  I’m finding that if I try to push myself to hit a word count on my Brewing Days, I’m so unhappy with the results that they get deleted in revisions anyway.  I don’t have an issue with keeping my head in the story.  The story’s always there, teasing at the edges.

Having designated Writing Days also helps me keep things straight – on Writing Days I don’t worry about silly things like when I’m going to find time this week for paying the bills or getting to the grocery store.  I get to focus on the important stuff: my made-up people in my made-up world.  The rest can shove off until my Brewing Days, when the whole point is to let the story simmer on my mental backburners.

Anybody else work this way?



  1. You know, I think I’m the same way. My second term at SHU, I wrote every day, but a lot of that material was getting rehashed and trashed. This term, I would *like* to write every day, but sometimes sitting down at the computer is like pulling teeth, and I’m not productive.

    The only downside to *not* writing every day is how easy procrastination becomes. However, designating “Writing Days” could help alleviate that. Something to consider, no doubt.

    But I do like your term of “Brewing Days”. Good stuff indeed…

  2. Yeah… I’ve found that designating writing days gives me permission to not feel guilty about not hitting the keyboard on my Brewing Days. I can leave myself notes about scenes I think I might forget, I can edit, I can brew, I can critique, I can read… but if I’m really not even supposed to be writing new material, it makes such a difference in my perceptions. And knowing that I’m brewing also means I’m not skivving off on the “real work” of writing – I’m just focused on it differently.

    It’s liberating, really.

    Sort of like naming the critic like we talked about in the genre chat list night, I suppose.

  3. Good points, all. :)

    And I like the new look of your blog!

  4. Thanks! I decided that since even I was getting a little frustrated about not being able to see the font against the background on the old one that it was time to go to something cleaner.

    I’ve got vague ideas about putting up one of my own photos as the top banner, but that would surely involve meddling with both a photo and the CSS code, and I don’t have the time or desire to mess with either right now. I’m glad you like it!

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