Believe it or not, I’ve written less than 100 blogs since I started blogging for business a year ago. I’ve read a lot of blogs and articles claiming you should write every single day, and you should stay consistent in your writing or risk losing followers. If you don’t do these tactics, then somehow you are less of a writer.
Honestly, I’ve found none of these to be true. Obviously, if you stop writing for a month or two, you will start to be forgotten. But there are ways around that.
And how dare anyone put parameters on what defines you as a writer?
True writing (and blogging) experts will tell you spending more time writing less and promoting your content is key, not making sure you have a spot filled on your editorial calendar all the time.
Indeed, I fell for that trap even with this post. I realized I hadn’t written in a while, consulted my editorial calendar and just started typing. But I have to add my two cents on this and what has worked for me.
Here’s why writing every day isn’t always a good thing.
1) Writing can be painfully and mind-numbingly boring. Yes, I’ve pursued the craft of writing all of my life. I have read blogs purporting if you don’t like writing all the time, you should just quit.
A part of me winced when I read that. If everyone stopped doing what bored them on occasion, no one would get anything accomplished.
You shouldn’t earn cash being bored out of your mind. Wouldn’t you just crawl your way back into the corporate life if that’s what you wanted?
Writing for corporate blogs or technical white papers brings in more money than writing for local papers or magazines (which is what I primarily do). But sometimes the true value of writing is what you gain from it intrinsically, not financially. If it was all about the dough, I probably would have given up writing some time in 2000 when newspapers were facing hiring freezes.
2) It’s important to acquire and build complementary skills. I’ve spent a lot of time (perhaps too much) reading about web sites, small business and (most importantly) simply reading others’ work. This is how you push your writing to the next level and really transform it into a viable business.
Even if it’s a few blog posts a week, there can be dual benefits. Reading posts from fave bloggers like Carol Tice, Linda Formichelli and Sophie Lizard teaches you how to earn money writing (and not just from the boring stuff!). At the same time, I’m noting their writing style and how they are using it to draw readers. Perfect!
And, believe it or not, most of my recurring income is from my administrative work. I’m not using my writing skills so much as my organizational, general communication and social media skills.
Writing can be a part of your freelance life, but it doesn’t have to consume your entire life to be successful.
3) You should stay busy connecting with others. One of the first things you’ll learn as a freelancer is you cannot survive alone. You have to dive in with other small business owners online and offline. This is what will keep you motivated when you’re in a rut or down about the financial instability that comes with freelancing at times.
And, of course, it also creates business opportunities. For instance, I did a guest post last year for Read. Learn. Write. Later, the blog owner approached me about editing and posting his guest posts. I’m now getting recurring income based on the relationship I built with the blogger and my persistent marketing efforts through social media.
And I’m one of those folks who believe crafting intelligent and useful social media posts and blog comments are ways to satisfy daily word counts you may set for yourself.
Crazy, I know.
This can be a divisive issue, but I’d love to hear your comments about this. Do you write every day? Are you spending enough time marketing your writing?
Photo: Some rights reserved by Charles Jeffrey Danoff
I try to write every day, even if it is just in my journal. If I don’t, it leads to writer’s block. Since I write both fiction and non-fiction, if I get bored with one then I switch to the other.
Oooo, that’s a great tip – switching up the types of writing you do. Thanks for reading and commenting.
I’m much more inclined to write every day if an editor is waiting with a check : ) I’ve joined a blogging challenge where we have to post a new blog every day of the month, and this has me convinced that posting less frequently and promoting more is better. Even with pieces that short, I think quality is missing when churned out that fast.
That said, I do write at least a little every day, but not everything is meant to be shared. I often find nuggets of things written years ago that were written very badly, but can now be turned into good writing.
You know, Debbie, I’ve never thought about re-writing old pieces. That’s a fantastic idea! Love your comment, thank you.
Great advice. I also found that the harder I try to conform to what the expert tell me to do, the less I sound like myself. That’s why I decided to stay true to my own voice and only write when I have something to say, and not when the schedule/calender tells me to do so. Most of my blog posts involve interviews, lots of research and studio visits, and I can only fit so many into a week/month.
In the end I believe honesty and integrity works much better than some ‘formula for success’.
Couldn’t have said it better myself. Honesty trumps everything. Thanks!
I’ve often felt guilty about not being “faithful” to daily writing. Frankly, I’m still trying to find my way around social media so I have to learn that as well.
I’m glad someone pointed this out. But I think what most legit writers support the “daily writing” agenda because it hones the writing muscle. Maybe it doesn’t matter what kind of writing we do as long as we write. I keep a journal though not as consistent as I want. LOL. I think that counts.
Wow, I have no idea how you got into spam, I’m sorry. Thank you so much for commenting. And yes, a journal counts! As far as I know, you only do muscle toning a few times a week! Those muscles can get overworked, you know?
I’m here to refute the “post every day to keep your readers” canard! I’ve un-subscribed from far more bloggers who “clog up my inbox” than those who “don’t write often enough” according to some formula!
I also have a vast file of “Drafts” – started but-not-finished posts – something just didn’t come together about them, so they’re still marinating. OTOH, some are just composting.
My “writing every day” is mostly comments these days, but I’m not trying to be a professional writer either…
Yay! Thanks Karen. Yes, I wrote this for folks who aren’t trying to be writers as well. 🙂
I’m torn I have to admit. For years I used to put off writing giving myself one excuse or another (lazy) and now I’ve been serious for a while and write every day. When I don’t however, I feel that pang of guilt, like I’m ignoring my crying baby.
AWWW I never thought about it like that. I have written about falling out of the habit and it’s awful,so I don’t blame you one bit. But taking a break every so often isn’t too bad.
Okay, you KNOW I had to comment on this. I’m religious about writing everyday. Writing is my profession, and I report to work everyday like I would any other job. Blogging, freelancing, editorials, novels…I write on something every day. No, I don’t think people forget you if you back off a few weeks, but your writing stops. Writing is a muscle. Yes, you can give it a light rest, but it loses mass and strength if you don’t keep exercising it regularly. Each word written is a word closer to success and hones your voice sharper. Thinking about it, or waiting for the mythical muse, does absolutely nothing to aid your writing skills. But there isn’t a job out there (job, not hobby) where the worker loves absolutely everything about it. But you do not get better at it without doing it, and as competitive as this market is, taking breaks or waiting until one feels like writing, is just allowing others to pass you by! Sorry, just my two cents. It’s how I operate and how I teach. Professional writers DO write every day.
I’m so glad you commented! And yes the muscles analogy is absolutely true. I just don’t want business owners of any type (writers included) to get stressed or burned out.
Intriguing post! While I’m highly in favor of spending time on the 3 other points you call out — reading & learning, marketing, and avoiding boredom — I find I feel like “I haven’t gotten anything done” on any day that I don’t write SOMETHING. And also that I’ll fall behind on my commitments, even if they’re just to my own blog.
I’m a big booster of writing what you feel like when you feel like it, whenever possible, so I try to arrange my day to tackle something when I’m in the groove for writing that thing.
And I do take one day off from all work activities every week. So guess I don’t write 7 days a week! But in general, I say try to keep that writing muscle well-exercised. 😉
Yay! Even my mentor takes a break. That’s very encouraging and I do agree as a writer it is hard to stay away long.
Interesting, Carol – that you ‘feel like “I haven’t gotten anything done” on any day that I don’t write SOMETHING.’ I’ll have to take another look at my own reactions around that thought…
I have plenty of “feel like nothing got done” days – I wonder how often “I didn’t write anything (of substance) today” feeds into them!
Thanks, and Happy New Year!
Happy New Year!
I write something daily. I’ll certainly write the piece a client hired me to write. I might write an “I want you as my client” letter of introduction, or follow up a previous LOI. I’ll write in my journal. I’ll write in my blog. I write SOMETHING every day.
I’m a specific generalist copywriter. That means I write only to a specific market and only specific copywriting pieces. My market is non profits dealing with clean air, clean water, food security and art. My writing expertise includes writing grant proposals, newsletters, brochures, newsletters, blogs, white papers, case studies, and volunteer procedural manuals.
So, I write every single day. Just not always in my blog.
I like that you niche Kendra. Thank you for commenting!
Hi Williesha, I enjoyed this. Each points made sense and was balanced. Though, as you see, the people firmly on one side of the fence or the other read in between the lines. I do some kind of writing most days, though like you said, everything counts.
I’m strict with myself on my blog because I know my own nature to let things go, so I keep at it.
I don’t believe in blogging every day. I’m usually about once a week and I have taken a week off and posted a bit earlier the next week. I don’t always post the same day either. My posts are 90% of the time on Friday or Saturday.
Many others don’t post every day, or even every other day. John Morrow often ends his emails (which don’t contain the entire post) with something like, I’ll have something else for you in about a week.
I don’t think I could take a couple months off though. It’s just a part of what I do. Even when I’m taking a day off, I still carry a notepad and sometimes still end up writing ideas or writing for fun.
I did write a shorter post awhile back about finding the time to write – http://wp.me/p1sYP4-7b
Thanks for stopping by Peter – I like how you schedule your posts. And you have a real gift for putting a lot of info into short posts. As always, thanks for being awesome and commenting.
Thank you. When I started my blog I used to try to keep my posts around 500 words. It was a good disciple to learn to right tight. Now that more people read longer posts they are usually between 500-750. I did a couple post answering questions that were a little longer.
I don’t write every day, but I’m working toward it. If writing is like a muscle, we must build up enough strength and endurance to write every day, BUT we must also give our muscles a rest. Anyone who knows about working out will tell you that you have to take recovery time. Good post. We like arguable points.
The muscles analogy is definitely the one I have thought of the most, so I’m not surprised it has been brought up a lot here. Thank you so much for reading Sarah!
I’m a firm believer that just about anything can be improved by a short break. I write every day in one form or another, but some writing I think of as business and other writing is just conversations with friends. Switching from one to the other is like taking a break for me.
And Willi, I’d love to see you post on Be a Freelance Blogger about how you got that guest post with Brandon and turned it into a regular editing gig! That’s exactly the kind of info people need.
Yay!! My other mentor commented and agrees!! Sophie I’d be glad to take elements of the blog post I did previously and combine it with conversations he and I had.
I currently write only one or maybe two days a week. Yet I still earn more money from this than I did when I was writing solidly for five days a week a couple of years ago.
Now, going by the spirit of this post and its underlying messages, I’m sure you won’t have trouble guessing the reasons why.
Thanks Kevin! Your post about not reading made me want to write something a bit unorthodox.