Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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More True Than Usual Writing Advice

So, I saw links to this post by CE Murphy about writing advice this morning on twitter — Aliette de Bodard and Martha Wells retweeted it — and it is one of the better advice posts ever:

There’s a Writing Rule that says “Write every day, no matter what.” You hear people tout this rule, just like every other Writing Rule, and since I’m dragging myself back into the swing of things after what amounts to a five month hiatus, I thought I’d address it.

Obviously it’s terrible advice.

This is SO TRUE. It IS terrible advice, and I do think that is obvious, even though I don’t completely agree about *why* it is terrible advice.

For CE Murphy, it’s all about the way life inevitably prevents you from writing every day, but for Murphy, the advice to write every day would be pretty good advice if you could actually follow it. So this post is about getting back your momentum when it has been broken.

That is a good and useful topic.

For me, though, habit and momentum are not the same thing, one does not lead to the other, and sometimes a book is a real grind and writing every day is just what you do. In that case, working on that book does not get easier just because you do it every day. It’s a slog, period.

Conversely, taking a complete writing break is very, very good for me. I can go along quite happily not writing at all for months. Then ideas tickle at the back of my skull and I start to write scenes in my head and then I open the laptop and boom! Momentum is instantaneous.

So I like this post a lot. I do. But my takeaway is, as always:

Everyone is different.

If advice isn’t meant for you, don’t try to take it.

If everyone else does it this way but that doesn’t work for you, do it your way.

And it’s perfectly all right to be the only professional writer in the room who does NOT raise her hand when asked, “Do you write every day?” or even “Do you write every day when circumstances permit?”

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