How Much Do You Write?

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I received an e-mail while I was away inquiring about how much time I spend writing every day.  It’s an interesting topic to me, since most writers I meet typically tout that you must write constantly – write and write and write, and then write some more.

I checked out your site and I see you have written novels and short stories, and from your resume it seems you have other jobs, too. How much do you write a day? I have a job and I really want to write a novel, but by the end of the day I only have the time (and energy) to write a few pages, if anything.

I’ll answer your question with a question: Why would you assume I write every day? I certainly do not.

I keep no records, I set no goals, I have no expectations of quantity (although I do get a little uneasy if a drought lasts too long).  I’m not sure why you’d try to turn writing into a rigid job, something you have to do.  It’s not a production line, it’s an avenue for me to express myself.  When I need to express myself in a way that I don’t want to verbally or through my actions, I turn to writing.

Or, sometimes I simply feel like writing.  As another gets the desire to watch television, exercise or call a friend, I crave to create entertainment for myself.  At the end of the day, that’s all it is – either an expression of the self or the creation of something that entertains me and makes me smile, laugh or identify.

And that’s what fosters my tendency to keep journalism jobs and other assignments with daily deadlines at arm’s length.  On a personal level, it’s not as rewarding to leave emotion out of a story, and, rightfully so, not all news stories are appropriate for including such details.

When these times arise, I feel more and more disconnected to the writing, and that is about as far removed from my purpose as possible.

So, to answer your question about how much I write on a daily basis, I have no fucking clue.

It’s not like that.