writing advice, burnout, indie publishingI’m sure I’m going to get a lot of flack for this one. I don’t care. There’s something I see being posted a lot, and it ticks me off. So I have no problem sounding off on the topic.

Write every day. Every single day. You will not be a success if you don’t write every day. You will fail. Just do it. Write every day. Do it.


To explain why I think this is bullshit, I’m going to refer to an awesome post I read on a financial blog. What I read wasn’t anything new, it just sums up how I feel on the topic. The advice basically goes like this:

Do your best, dummy.

OK, what does that mean? I refer to it another way. I call it the 80/20 theory. The 80/20 theory is basically that if you’re 80 percent perfect, you’re still going to be pretty good. Maybe not as good as 100 percent, but still pretty good. But 80 percent is achievable. 100 percent is nearly impossible, and most of us will get frustrated and quit if we try.

OK, that’s pretty abstract. Here’s a concrete example. Say you want to start working out. You decide you need to go to the gym 4 days per week. Many folks start their New Year’s resolutions this very way.

The first couple of weeks go great. Then, on week three, the person misses a day. They decide they need to make up for it. Then another day is missed, and that needs to be made up. Suddenly the make-up days start piling up. Eventually it’s too much, the person feels like a failure, and they stop.

Let’s look at a different scenario (and this is how I approach fitness, for that matter). Let’s say I set out to work out for four days per week. Guess what happens if I miss a day? I move on. I let it go. I make the next workout.

So, let’s do the math. I missed, say, three workouts that month. So, I should have done 16 total work outs. I did 13. Guess what? Still pretty good. That’s 13 more workouts than the guy who quit and isn’t doing any.

I approach writing the same way. I go for days without writing. (Fiction at least. My job is to write every day, so in a sense I am one of those write every day people! But my job is also one of the reasons I sometimes just don’t have anything left for my fiction.) Then I go for days when I do write.

I just published the first part of my serial novel, and my second is coming out in September. So I’d say I’m doing pretty well with producing content. It might have taken me longer than someone writing every single day, but I got there. I’m happy with where I’m at, and I’m happy at the rate I write.

But understand, it’s not writing every day that I take issue with. If that works for you, go for it. What I’m calling bullshit on is writers who tell other writers there’s only one way to do it. There isn’t. There’s as many ways as their are writers. You have to figure out what works for you. I like writing at night, with post-techno on. I used to have to be at a coffee shop. You might favor writing upside down in your underwear. Maybe you like writing a little bit every day. Maybe you write in Jack Kerouac three-day binges. I don’t know. Do what works for you. Don’t be afraid to experiment. And don’t forget, this stuff is supposed to be fun. If you’re not enjoying it, why do it?