Nearly every post about writing tips will tell you to write daily, or as often as you can manage. I should know, I read hundreds of writing tips in the last year of so. This piece of advice is the one that has rung the most true for me, but not in a way that I expected.
I do not write everyday. That is, if writing is defined by tapping keys on my computer or scratching a pencil across the fine white pages of a notebook. (I prefer pens to pencils anyways, despite the drawbacks.) Defined by those terms, I have only written two to four days in the last two weeks. Yet, I feel as if I am making tremendous progress on my next book, Godless. Why is that?
Well, let’s redefine what I am calling ‘writing.’ I am not a writer. I am an engineer. The reason that I also create books is not because I enjoy the English language. It isn’t a job that I do out of some obligation or need to prove something. I ‘write’ because I have stories to tell. I am a storyteller.
For a moment, let’s use the blanket term ‘writing’ to refer to the entire storytelling process. That is the definition I use when talking to people. I don’t tell them that I am imagining, , developing, writing, editing, and designing a book. I tell them that I am writing a book. As far as this ‘writing’, this storytelling process goes…
I never stop.
I am constantly dwelling on the ideas in my stories, thinking up new ways to weave everything together, creating scenes that reveal necessary developments in ways that make the reader gasp. I am formulating a vision, painting scenery in my head that the language in the book will strive to capture, considering mythologies and powers and character flaws or quirks. My wife catches me staring into space, conjuring up new elements of my stories.
Then, when I do sit down to technically write the book, the words flow like honey onto the page.
Yes, I said ‘honey’. I cannot type very quickly.
Regardless of your skill with English, the story you tell can only be as good as the story you conceive in your mind. Make sure you think about it! Jot down notes when a brilliant thought arrives! Even when you don’t have the time to write daily (which you should do), make sure you work on your stories. Just… think about it. Think about them. Talk to a friend about ideas. Then, when you write, just let it go.
See you around!