Sunday, November 17, 2013

Consistency Over Quality

Demetria Martinez mentioned in her talk that writing on a regular basis was more important than how nuanced the writing is, at least at first. And other writers have mentioned that--in fact, next to reading, it's one of the top given bits of advice (with a side of controversy about the "write what you know" adage).

Anyway, it got me thinking about the habit of writing, especially with NaNoWriMo this month. For those of you who are writers, do you have a regular practice of writing outside of NaNo? What is it? And for those of you who don't consider yourselves creative writers, do you regularly write in a journal or on a blog? What do you think the pros and cons would be for incorporating this habit into your weekly/daily life?


  1. I do have a regular practice of writing outside of NaNo. Unfortunately, it is not as much as I would like sometimes. I try to write every day, and how much I write varies. I usually write from around 500 to 1,000 words a day, and what I write can vary. If I have some kind of project I'm working on, I tend to write more. If I have nothing specific that I'm working on, then sometimes I don't write very much at all. I do sometimes skip days because I'm so busy--as students, I'm sure you all understand this. Basically, although I am pretty consistent about writing most days, I could still improve my consistency.

    I agree with Demetria Martinez that consistency is important. And I liked her advice about just putting aside the time and sitting in front of a computer with an open word document. That actually works for me. It always has. If I don't feel like writing, but if I just start writing something anyway, it works pretty well. It's just a matter of sitting down and opening Microsoft Word.

  2. If anything, I would tell other people to write constantly, instead of saving that sudden burst of energy for a time that might not always be the most convenient. Save everything you can on anything you can write on or with. Of course, I wouldn't consider myself a writer in any regard other than "student", but the few times I have written in a journal to collect my thoughts, I write as if it were a free write. No stops, no time to collect and gather and tidy my thoughts, but spew them onto paper before any of them slip away. I think it's a great way to start writing - to simply write, without any filter whatsoever. I think that this is the advice I would give to writers all around. Write as if no one was going to read the material, don't overthink it, and write as much as you can in as little time as possible.

  3. Unfortunately, I've neglected writing almost completely this semester. I had a CW class up until Fall Break that had me writing every day, but I dropped it when I realized how desperate my situation in Physics class was. I've had to sacrifice exercise and violin practice, too; at this point, I'd feel guilty for taking the time for those things when I could be applying it to homework.

    I've even been feeling guilty for working on my creative project!

    Most of my writing is done over the long breaks, as I'm an extremely slow writer. I have to sit down for four or five hours to kick out anything substantial (500 words or so). I aim to change at that over this coming holiday, so I've got my hopes up for developing a more regular writing schedule.

  4. I have been trying to write daily consistently for a while now. It is a common piece of advice from successful writers. I mentioned this in anther comment just today, but starting next semester I will be in graduate school and I will be taking an easier load with just one class, so I am really going to try to write from about an hour each day in the morning. This might move to the evening, since I am not much of a morning person, and I am not sure I can motivate myself to get out of bed an hour earlier, but I have heard from a few people that writing in the morning is better. In his book On Writing, Stephen king suggest finding a room with no distractions and setting a time each day. For me that would mean my bedroom probably and I would have to lock out my cats for a while. I would also like to maybe set a timer and just write until it dings, and then stop no matter what. I’ve heard that is what one author does but I cannot remember who or where I heard it from, but I remember it was an author that published more than a book a year. I agree that It doesn’t matter how good it is (at first) because just writing will get the idea on paper and then you can edit and refine later!

  5. I'm not a writer, and other than this blog, I don't write online or in a journal either. The only times that I write just for myself are when I'm extremely frustrated about something, and just have to get it out to a page where I can see it and then promptly delete or destroy it. After seeing it in words, I can usually calm down and see a clear solution to whatever's bothering me. But beyond that, I simply would rather do other things, like read, draw, go out, etc.
    As far as pros and cons of daily writing, I suppose I'm missing out on a lot of practice and a lot of good stories or hidden insights. Like I said, I almost always find a solution to whatever's bothering me when I write it down--maybe I'm missing out on other solutions or perspectives to less-serious problems that I don't write about.
    In addition, I did occasionally keep diaries as a little kid, and they are extremely amusing to read as an adult.
    On the other hand, since writing is not my goal in life, my time is probably used appropriately as is, doing things that I actually enjoy instead of forcing myself to do something that I'm really not inclined to at this time in my life.

  6. The only thing I write is either papers for class or creative papers for Spanish or honors class. I never really considered writing on a regular basis, but after this class I think why not. Even if I don’t become a successful writer or even published I would like to just write for me. A story I find interesting and want to tell. It’s funny I always think of writing as a deadline that needs to be met, but it would be an interesting change of pace if I just took an hour out of my day and just write and have no pressure if it is good or not or needing to be this long or due in the next couple of days. I think I need to be consistent and motivate myself to keep at it and start off at a pace I feel comfortable like writing for an hour or so and see how it goes from there.


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