My reaction to this comment varied from puzzlement (Why would this person say that to me at my book launch?) to feeling affronted (Seriously?! You’re an engineer, not a writer.) to boredom (Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard this before.). It was an irritant in all the excitement of getting published. But ultimately, I realized that none of these would-be authors’ declarations meant anything.
Why? Because their books all remained inside them.
Why daily? Because the more you practice, the more familiar you become with your tools: words. You learn how they best fit into phrases, sentences, paragraphs, chapters, complete novels. Occasional writing too often results in flaccid, lazy prose. Daily writing results in prose that is strong, fluid, and graceful. Instead of stuttering across a page, words become elegant and storytelling vivid.
Writing is work, yes. Writing is practice, of course. Writing is not something everyone does or even can do. If you are a writer, you’ve given your mind, your hope, your schedule over to telling your stories. You’ve set aside time to get to know your characters just as you set aside time for friends and family.
Georgia Beaverson is a July 2012 graduate of the MFAC program. She lives in southern Wisconsin.