February 22, 2010

Trying to Write Everyday?

A piece of advice that keeps cropping up all over the place is: "Write everyday". What does this exactly mean? Does this mean to become a good writer one must always pursue a first draft, setting a specific word count goal per day? But as we all know, editing is vital for actually writing something which is publishable - so what counts as writing everyday? Does editing count, even though it's less about word count and more about analysing one's work? While editing is actually a process which tends to involve significant re-writes, in the day of word-processing it's become only a matter of editing and inserting/deleting text on a screen; it feels less fluid than writing a first draft.

Is it best to have multiple projects on the go? Editing and pure, unadulterated writing? Something to satisfy both  the unbridled creative process of just writing something, and the analytical and critical work of editing a pre-written piece.

I've taken on a new project this weekend, I've started another first draft of a brand new novel. A compulsion has taken over, and I feel I have to write it down and NOW. I made a pact with my flatmate, also a writer, and we've set the goal of writing 1000-2000 words per day. In addition to this I still plan to edit my pre-existing short stories and come April to start editing the novel I finished back in November. Certainly this way I am getting my "write everyday" quota in and fulfilling all the possible specifications which could be interpreted from this phrasing.

But does editing count? I suppose it does, but for some reason for me editing doesn't feel like writing; relevant, and probably the most useful part of the writing process, if anything the most important tools to help one grow as a writer. But I don't know, maybe it's something personal but nothing feels as exciting as just sitting down and writing something down for the first time without picking it apart. I guess we must embrace all the facets this craft requires: writing, editing, re-writing, and reading, and somehow apply them everyday. 

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