Why Writing Every Day Is Not Always the Best Option

A tale of two mindsets

Creativity is a strange thing.

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

Sometimes it seems like it’s gone on vacation, usually when you’re super energised and ready to produce some great work.

Other times it won’t stop tapping you on the shoulder at 3AM.

I personally resonate with an idea that Elizabeth Gilbert shared in her book ‘Big Magic’. The idea that creativity and inspiration are not part of us, but are separate entities which come and go as they please, and we can either accept their presence or simply ignore them.

I find that dealing with creativity is a constant negotiation, and I have realised that there is a very good reason for this.

I see a lot of stories on Medium which encourage building a writing habit, writing every day, and treating writing as a kind of hustle, grinding it out, and writing as much as you can.

I have never really liked this approach.

The reason we want to make a living from writing is that we enjoy it. We don’t want it to be a slog every day, to grind out articles and content like a productivity machine.

I have tried the approach that many writing productivity gurus across the web are promoting. It left me not wanting to touch a keyboard for a couple of weeks. Writing became a chore, which is something I don’t want it to be.

What many of these people don’t understand is that there is a balance when it comes to writing, or any creative pursuit.

A balance between input and output.

Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

Output is the work you produce. The articles you write, the music you make.

Input is your inspiration, it’s how you recharge your creative batteries, and most importantly, it’s where you get your ideas from.

Input is the books you read, the observations you make, and the ideas that pop into your head when you allow your mind the time to wander.

Without input there is no output, at least not quality output.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to grind out article after article, of trying to produce as much content as possible. After all, with so much competition out there these days, you need to do more than everyone else, right?

If we don’t step back from the computer every now and then and go in search of inspiration, the work we produce just becomes mediocre garbage that has been posted a thousand times already across the internet.

This is why I don’t write every day, not at all in fact.

I write four or five days a week, depending on how charged my creative batteries are.

The other days, I take some time to learn, inspire myself, and search for new exciting ideas to incorporate into my work.

Occasionally, I feel the need to step back from work altogether for a week or so, and have a period of input, a period of reflection and inspiration.

Life happens in cycles, and the cycles feed off of each other. Without the cycle of input, we can never reach the level of output we are looking for.

So the idea I’m proposing to all you creative folk out there is a simple one, set aside one day each week for inspiration.

Personally, I always choose Sunday.

The power of Sundays

Here in France where I live, Sunday is, and has always been, a very sacred day.

All of the shops are closed, there are very few people out on the streets, especially now as we head into the colder months.

Sunday just has a different feel here, compared to the rest of the week.

Photo by John Forson on Unsplash

I live very close to a primary school, where I can faintly hear the kids screaming and shouting on a regular cycle, five days a week.

Sunday is really the only day I can wake up at 11AM and hear almost nothing outside.

Sunday is calm, quiet, and perfect for reflection and insight.

I don’t even think about writing, or producing anything at all on Sundays. I simply dive into a rabbit hole of exploration of new ideas, following whatever interests me at the time. I let my mind go wherever it wants to go.

And sure enough, I have a page full of new ideas to write about for the week ahead.

So when people ask me how I keep from getting burned out, how I keep my creativity charged. I reply, “Sunday!”

Just wandering about.

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