Recently, I got the chance to get a one-year subscription to Masterclass. As soon as I got my account set up, I immediately looked for those done by authors. My first class I listened to was created by Walter Mosely. He intrigued me. I genuinely enjoyed listening to his thought processes and belief’s regarding creating a story. I then went on to watch James Patterson’s course. Let me tell you something…this man is amazing! He kept me glued to my computer for his entire class. One of the things he said was that a writer writes every day. Even if they’re writing only a couple hundred words (yes, I’m paraphrasing), they write every single day.
A class I’m taking in school is on television writing. To get myself in the mode, so to speak and updated on the thought processes of writing scripts, I chose to watch Shondra Rhimes’ Masterclass. She is another great speaker and kept me hooked on every word. One of the things she mentions is when someone is asking themselves if they can call themselves a writer or not. Her position is that you can only say you’re a serious writer when you write every single day. Writing notes on a pad, or in your phone, or on a napkin. Every day you must write in order to call yourself a writer. Otherwise, (again paraphrasing), you’re not a writer.
Both of these highly successful people made me stop and think. Ever since I seriously started writing my books, I’ve taken hundreds of classes, workshops, etc. and have heard, on occasion, that as long as you write, you’re a writer. Not often, but there are those who say we are not required to write every day to be a writer.
Therein lies the conundrum which hit me today. Reflecting on my past, I discovered during those times in my life where I wrote every day, every week, my word count became more solidified, my ability to write better increased substantially and I completed books. Those times in my past where I didn’t write every day, resulted in incomplete stories, half-written stories, craft mistakes I thought I’d never make again.
All of this made me stop and think about what James and Shondra said. As much as I didn’t want to admit it at first, I’ve realized in order for me to produce better stories, more books and overall higher quality writing, I must write every day. When I mean “write”, I mean creating new words. Whether this is done via typing or dictating, it doesn’t matter, as long as there are visible new words being documented. Another thing is I learned to really release that internal editor when writing a first draft. Kicking that editor out the door allowed me to really get more words down. Forcing myself to ignore typo’s, misspelled words, missing punctuation and such actually felt good…after a while. The English major in me kept wanting to let that darn editor slip into the room. But I can now say, I really do create crappy first drafts and it’s totally okay. By getting these words on paper (so to speak) quickly, my books are written faster and more time can be spent for editing and polishing. And for me? That’s the fun part of writing a story. I love going back and cleaning up, adding in special things here and there, sprinkle my stories with new words and creating special scenes.
So, if you’re a writer, consider if you write every day. If you don’t, try it for two weeks. Write every day and see if it changes your thought process too. I’d love to hear back from you if you try this. You can do it!