WHAT THE HELL

Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

Do as Nicholson Baker says: write every day

Piano keys

Thought I’d throw this into the mix, so you can fit a little writing into your schedule today before things get out of control. Nicholson Baker says writers must write every day.

I guess it’d be okay if you started after Thanksgiving. I know. It’s pretty hectic right now.

But Mr. Baker is absolutely right. A writer has to write every day. The sooner you get into that habit, the better your craft, the more fluid your longer works, the more prolific your output, the greater your satisfaction. Anyone who tries to write a novel on the weekends is in for a real challenge, given that so much of pushing your way through a novel is to reread what you’ve got so far. You wind up spinning your wheels.

I know, I know — who’s got the time on weekdays to sit down and write for a couple of hours? Well, I guess that depends on how committed you are.

Maybe I’ve mentioned before (probably have) that for many years I used to get up at four-thirty in the morning to get my writing in before heading off to work. At first, it was really hard. My brain was a bowl of mush at that hour. I’d have opened my eyes through the night to see how much time left I had to sleep. I didn’t feel like much of what I was writing was keepable. But you know what? I adapted. I started to relish the calm silence of those predawn hours. The time flew by, and I began to produce. A novel was born.

So take Mr. Baker’s advice. Write every day. Do it on little scraps of paper, as he suggests, or in a notebook you carry with you. Blog posts count. Anything that gets some words out into the light of day.

It’s like a piano player doing scales, which is the only way to become proficient. So set the metronome and get to your scales.

12 comments on “Do as Nicholson Baker says: write every day

  1. 1WriteWay
    November 27, 2013

    I may Like this post but I don’t really like the suggestion that if I am truly committed to writing then I must write every day. Of course, you do qualify it by allowing blog posts and such to count. And, with this most recent experience with NaNo, I actually proved to myself that even I, the antithesis of the “morning person”, could get up a bit earlier and pound out several hundred words before work. While I agree that writing daily is a great way to stay warmed up for writing and to ensure that one is productive, etc., I don’t think one’s commitment to writing needs to be tied to how often one writes. Sorry if I’m being overly sensitive about this. Even though I started off strong this month, getting up an hour early (god help me, nothing but a nagging cat will get me out of bed at 4:30 am), my resolve eroded until I wound up with only 15 minutes to spare for writing and was late for work 😦
    Sure, I can write a little bit every day, but I’m one of those people who really needs a chunk of time to get lost in my writing and then to make sense of it.
    By the way, today I said to a colleague “at the end of the day” and I immediately thought of you ;

    • 1WriteWay
      November 27, 2013

      Ok, that was supposed to be a smiley face at the end of that very last sentence, like so 😉

    • Kevin Brennan
      November 27, 2013

      I’m sure you know I wasn’t trying to provoke you, of all people. It’s just that Baker’s advice has worked for me over the years, and it’s good for younger writers to understand this ain’t no part-time hobby kinda thang. If they’re serious. You? Oh yeah, you’re serious.

      By the way, when I was doing the 4:30 thing, I was a LOT younger. Now, if I tried that? It’s: All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. All work and no play make Jack a dull boy… 😈

      Enjoy your hike mañana!

      • 1WriteWay
        November 28, 2013

        lol … yeah, one’s age is definitely something to consider 🙂

  2. J. S. Collyer
    November 28, 2013

    I write every day in some shape or form 🙂

    • Kevin Brennan
      November 28, 2013

      I figured that about you… 😉

      • J. S. Collyer
        November 28, 2013

        😄😄 attending a meeting tonight about potentially helping to write a script for a short horror movie :O

      • Kevin Brennan
        November 28, 2013

        Whoa, that’d be so cool! Good luck!

      • J. S. Collyer
        November 28, 2013

        Thankees! And enjoy your evening 🙂

        Jack’s just got on the train and met Joe 🙂 looking forward to seeing what happens next!

  3. sknicholls
    November 28, 2013

    I write almost every day…something, but one thing I must do is read something every day. Seems to me to be just as important. Perhaps because I am such the amateur when it comes to writing, but I always feel as if there is something more to be learned from others.

    • Kevin Brennan
      November 28, 2013

      Good point. Reading is like the high-octane fuel we burn through.

      Happy T-Day!

      • sknicholls
        November 28, 2013

        Same to you! Happy Thanksgiving! Eat well 🙂

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This entry was posted on November 27, 2013 by in Writing and tagged , , , .
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