Written by Allison Perry. Media by Kelsey Middleton.
As an aspiring writer with friends who love to write, I have had many debates concerning how often a writer should write. Our opinions cover a wide range and much ground: a writer should write every day, a writer should write when there’s something to write about, and many more. Because each of us had a different answer to the question, I decided to discuss it with Dr. Alexandria LaFaye, who teaches many English classes at Greenville University and who is, herself, a writer.
“Writers should find their writing pattern and stick to it. If they work best with a daily routine, they should strive to write each day,” explains LaFaye. However, she adds, “Not every writer is a daily writer. I’m certainly not. In my younger years, I thought I had to mold myself into becoming a daily writer if I ever wanted to be a ‘real writer,’ as I’d often read and heard in lectures, but then I realized every writer approaches writing differently.” This is completely true.
While LaFaye explains she does not write every day, she finds that when she is given a full day to write she is easily capable of writing 60-100 pages. I, on the other hand, have found that writing at least three times a week is what works best for me. If I had time to write every day, I would love to. However, in contrast to LaFaye, I am only able to write about three to five pages in a day before I come to a point where I can’t write any longer. The purpose of practicing, though, is that eventually I can push through that barrier and begin to write more each day.
LaFaye believes that you do not have to write every day to be a “real writer,” however, she explains “Even if you’re not physically writing, writers are almost always practicing their writing, observing character in plot while watching a show, analyzing a writer’s use of imagery as they read, asking what motivated a person at the grocery store to stop in the fruit section and contemplate two different oranges for three minutes… Writing isn’t just the act of writing on a page or a keyboard; it’s also exploring the craft in various mental exercises many writers complete on a daily basis.”
I find this to be incredibly true in my daily life as an English major and an aspiring writer. Analyzing the writing of others and observing those around me has become something that just naturally happens in my day-to-day life.
Ultimately, a writer does not have to write every single day. If they do not write, however, a writer should still be thinking like a writer. That is, they should be critiquing and analyzing the works of others, observing those around them. What matters most in becoming the best writer a writer can be is to simply find a comfortable writing ritual and keep up with it.