To be a successful writer, you must write every day.
I see this adage so often, repeated by published authors, fellow aspiring authors, editors, publishers, and general advice givers. Each time I see it, I wonder, does this make me an utter failure?
I have not written every day. I have in fact only written on a handful of days in the past 9 months or so. I have not published a blog post. I have not added pages, let alone chapters, to my novel-in-progress. I have not started a new novel. I have not even kept a journal.
But I have written 2 short stories, one of which was chosen for a local contest to be read during a festival, the other was published in a small anthology (Convergence: Words and Images from the West Elks). I wrote those pieces in 2-3 days though.
It certainly does not feel small to me to have finally achieved my first published work. And I have not lost my passion, commitment, or ability to tell the stories in my head. So I do not feel like a failure. Well, most days I don’t. I usually shove the inner-critic slightly behind me, out of direct ear shot and stick to my belief one can only be a failed writer if he or she loves to write and simply quits, full-stop.
But am I being too easy on myself? Am I claiming a title to which I am forfeit? I have several reasons why I have not written more, though I fluctuate weekly on my opinion of whether they are in fact reasons or just excuses. I know I cannot let my reasons always get in the way. Sometimes I need to set those reasons aside and let them be what I have not done. To be fair, having a baby and moving house and states are not things that can be deprioritized for any amount of time. Doing dishes, making groceries, putting away laundry though, those things could conceivably be less promptly seen to once in a while if it means moving closer to my goal.
My goal is and ever has been to be a successful writer. Success is subjective, I know. My idea of success is different than many peoples’ and should not be considered any sort of hard and fast definition. But to me it is everything. I want to have my work published and read widely and to make enough money doing it to call it a living.
The thing that comes to me as I sit here typing is that according to my personal definition of success, no I am certainly not a successful writer. But as I said, nor do I believe I am a failed writer. There appears to be a lovely grey area in which I may continue to live, for now, as a writer.
Hmm, that still leaves me with the possibility that the “write every day” adage may, in fact, be true.
Damn. Suddenly I am chasing my proverbial tail.
On purpose? Was this post simply another bullshit excuse not to work on my novel?
Or wait, does it in fact count towards the “every day” requirement and will make me more successful?
Oh bother. I should at least be going mildly crazy at a pub with a nice whiskey.