Writing Every Day Won’t Make You a Better Writer


The caveat you missed from the great writing memo

Studies show that writers who have a daily writing habit achieve sustainable success compared to those who write on inspiration. Stephen King is a glaring example. He has published over 88 novels and novellas. About 78 of his written works — short stories included — have been adapted for television series and movies.

In his writing memoir, On Writing, Stephen mentioned that he has a daily writing habit of penning down two thousand words irrespective of the season. Yet, that statement took up one paragraph in the book. Do you know what took up three pages?

Recommended books.

At the end of the book, Stephen recommended 96 books that he had read and found good and contributory to his writing (he reads an average of 80 books in a year). According to Stephen, “Reading is the creative center of a writer’s life,” and “If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write,” which begs the question, what is a workman with no knowledge of the tools?

Sure, writing every day will make you a prolific writer, but there is such a thing as a prolific bad writer.

I used to think that understanding the structure and semantics of writing was the editor’s job, and all a writer had to do was turn the thought in their heads into coherent sentences on paper. Until I worked as an editor for my friend’s online agency.

When my friend asked me to join his team of freelance editors, I was ecstatic. As a bibliophile, working as an editor felt like hitting two birds with one stone, I was not only going to read books, but I was going to get paid for them as well.

Unfortunately, after editing the first three books in the queue, my brain shrank. The last experience was most memorable because I had clawed my face in frustration. I swam through grave grammatical blunders and almost drowned in directionless writing. The worst part was the bravado in the author’s voice. She painted her front matter violet with her self-acclaimed accomplishments as a writer.

She enjoyed the glory, but it was apparent she hadn’t put in the work.

The truth is, writing every day won’t make you a better writer because it doesn’t matter how long you have been doing something if you are not learning to be better. Matter-of-fact, it is how mediocrity is born.

Reading quality writing and implementing what you’ve read is one way to do that. I recommend you read Stephen King’s On Writing book. You’ll be glad you did.

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