After a meeting, yesterday, the topic of how often one should write (every day? how many hours per day?) came up.
I listened as inexperienced writers eagerly listened to more seasoned authors on the topic that is as dear—and as often-debated—as toilet training is to young parents.
In one of my previous posts, I said that if you are researching for your book or article, or attending a conference, or viewing a webinar, that “counts” as your writing for the day.
Well, like I told the others after the meeting, I now know a bit more about the craft of writing and have changed my mind about what I advised a year ago.
There is no substitute for WRITING.
You cannot learn to dance by reading a book or studying diagrams of nimble feet doing the Cha Cha.
You cannot learn to fish without baiting your hook and casting the line into the water.
There is no substitute for actually DOING.
We need to practice writing. All the reading and conference going—although worthwhile—cannot take the place of good, old-fashioned application.
Some people find themselves in such an endless cycle of “learning how to write” that they never actually sit down in front of the computer and try their hand at it.
They think that if they will just read one more book or watch one more webinar, then they will be ready…qualified…fully prepared.
All of that is well and good, but as my neighbor’s son studies his driving manual, I am reminded that he must also get behind the wheel and gain the experience of actually driving.
As a child, I heard my mother say, “Wishing doesn’t make it so,” many times. (Mostly this was in reference to having a clean room.) But, apply it to writing an article or book and you can make the connection, can’t you?
So, my conclusion is this: you must learn the skill of writing by writing, writing, and writing some more.
An hour a day?
Grab a partner and dance.
Bait your hook and cast your line.
Back out of the garage and get out on the highway.
Turn on the computer and let your fingers fly across the keyboard!