Many authors claim that you need to write every day. In fact Steven King is famous for sitting down and writing several pages each day. I think that’s wonderful…for him.
The biggest problem with sitting down to write is that I am highly distractable. Any little thing will steal my attention, and I find that I have done nothing. But its important not to torture myself with writing. I tried tying myself to the chair but honestly it wasn’t an effective method. I would be recalcitrant and unhappy, so I would get much less of a word count than when I willingly sat down to write.
The best writing advice I ever read was someone saying that they couldn’t write every day. What she said she did instead was to to think about writing when she was doing mindless tasks, like washing the dishes or vacuuming the carpets. She said its not about sitting down to write, its about wanting to sit down to write. I tried this and it worked much better for me because I started setting aside time to do what I find to be the most important part of writing: thinking, and planning.
My usual method to get my creative juices flowing is to read through what I’m wanting to work on, leave the computer to go do something mindless, like dishes and think about what I read and then come back and work. It works fairly well. I have to avoid the internet and reading and watching TV. All of those things suck up my attention and I won’t get anything done. For me the best activity’s are things like showering, cleaning, or going for a walk. I think it was Agatha Christie who said bath, bed, and bus, were the best places for inspiring the type of thoughts conducive for story telling. I’m guessing it was the exact same reason. She could relax and think.
So she counted the time that she was thinking as writing. If I did that, I would say I write every day but if I only count the time I actually put words to page I’d say I only write about four times a week. Either way it works for me.