When writing is like going to the gym

Writing binges are bad for me. This thing I have learned. Three days of 12 hour writing sprees lead to a week of recovery where I don’t even want to LOOK at my iPad, much less type on it. Which, if you think about it, is not a good thing for someone who wants to be a writer when they grow up.

Kind of have to write a lot if I ever want to get anything done, right?

red pen and all, baby
red pen and all, baby

Because writers write, that’s what they do. That’s what they’re SUPPOSED to do if they want to get anywhere in this business. Also, writers must read a whole bunch and try to maintain any semblance of sanity.

Easy peasy.



The saying ‘writers write’ always bugged me for a number of reasons. Mostly because it’s like those people that go to the gym all the time. The health nuts that ‘have’ to work out. And are vocal about it.  Because they have to.


Like this guy
Like this guy

I mean, if you want to spend every day at the gym, who am I to argue? You go! Get on with your bad self, I WISH I had that kind of motivation.

My motivated face
My motivated face

But, I don’t. Sure, I like to eat healthy and maybe have a cookie every now and then, but the gym seems like some sort of sweaty prison. All that’s missing is the Matrix-like machines sucking the energy we produce from us and using it to power itself.

Actually, I think there are gyms like that.

Anyway. Not important. Cool, but not important.

In my mind, no one has to do anything but die and pay taxes. And maybe breathe. But people who tout ‘writers write’ make it seem like if I’m not writing, I’m breaking some sort of golden rule of writing.

And I feel guilty about it.

Writer detention!
Writer detention for you, young lady!

I know I SHOULD be writing. I should have my eyes glued to my screen and my fingers to the keyboard because I have a deadline! And things to edit! Also, school is coming up and if I don’t get Annie done before then, it’s gonna be a helluva time trying to fit her in between homework and everything else I have to do, and there’s a web comic which needs to be scripted and sketched out, and another thing that’s going to take up a huge amount of my time…




And I stopped.

For a whole week.

Maybe a bit longer than that. Last night was the first time I sat down to the iPad to write. Only for an hour or so, and whilst chatting to my writing buddy.

I got a lot done.

Wrote an entire prologue, even. Then I stopped, climbed into my bed to read a little, and almost immediately went back to change the prologue because another way worked for the story better.  I then went back to my bed and proceeded to read until the thought occurred to me that Jay Bonansinga and Robert Kirkman are really good at what they do and I don’t want to have nightmares, so in went Terry Pratchett and off went the lights.

And it was good. Really, really good. Like the first time you go to the gym after promising yourself you’d go a month ago.

I felt good about the story, more energised about it and ready to go where it leads me. Even sitting at the iPad didn’t invoke a sense of doom and dread in me.

Old time Halloween costumes. Real time creepy.
Old time Halloween costumes. Real time creepy.

I don’t like giving writing advice because I don’t know if anyone will ever take it. Plus, I’m not published, so, who the hell am I? Everyone is gonna do what they’re gonna do, I just wish people wouldn’t say ‘write every day,’ it makes me feel like if I don’t, I’ll never be a real writer. Like people who say ‘go to the gym every day’ or ‘work out at least ____ minutes every day’ with the unsaid ‘because if you don’t, you’re going to be a slob for the rest of FOREVER’.

My thing?

Write when you can, and when you do, make every. single. word. count.

Because writers write, but we also have lives. So, write a little, write a lot, but don’t feel guilty if you don’t have the chance.