Writing Daily

I heard from an old friend, a classmate from my MFA program, on Facebook today. He is a sharp and smart guy, also decent and straightforward. Years ago, he gave me a piece of writing advice that I took and ran: out of it came my MFA thesis, a novel. Today, he unintentionally gave me another advice, nothing out of the ordinary for writers, who are always told this by someone or the other: write every single day. My friend’s advice came at a time when I had already begun to do some writing daily. A few days ago, I purchased a writing journal and began jotting down my thoughts in it. Writing by hand seemed therapeutic. It appeared to give me persmission to write. The first couple entries were a bit forced. When I finished them, I wanted to lie down immediately. The effort was enough to make me want to go to bed, nighttime that it was. The third and the fourth entries came a bit more easily. For some time now, I have been feeling somewhat remiss that, even though I teach academic writing to college students, my own writing output is minuscule and insignificant. In fact, I found myself recalling the well-known adage: those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach. Every time this saying comes to my mind I try to push it out. It is a blasphemy to even think like this. Then, sometimes, my mind tries to convince me that I do some writing on Facebook. Of course, I don’t buy this one bit. In fact, I’m ashamed at the mere thought. What seems somewhat more cogent is what Norman Mailer said of his early writing: it helped me get my bad writing out of the way. Now, don’t misunderstand me. I enjoy connecting to my friends on Facebook. Those who have been kind or attentive or interested enough in my posts also know that I try to write well. How convincing my posts are is another matter. I’m more concerned with how well they sound and read. Facebook may not be an effective platform to hone one’s writing craft, but it does give one an audience. That is important for writers. After I heard from my friend today, I decided to do my daily writing, a writer’s addition to a set of activities one must perform every day. I don’t know whether this will be useful. My sense is that it will help, although in what specific ways I cannot tell. Above all, if a writer does not write every single day, he or she is missing the exercise that keeps writing muscles toned and ready.

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