Writing Every Day Won’t Make You a Better Writer
It’s just an activity — what you need is a result
Yes, you read that right.
The go-to advice that’s given to every aspiring writer is to practice the craft daily.
But writing every day doesn’t help you improve your writing.
Let me tell you why.
Just Because Everyone Tells You to Write Daily Doesn’t Mean It’s the Right Thing to Do
I recently started taking writing seriously and I still have a long way to go. In my effort to learn and improve, I read hundreds of posts about writing and how I can be a better writer. And while they were helpful, you’re not going to improve as a writer following their advice.
After some time, I noticed a recurring theme in 99% of them and I’m sure you noticed it too:
- They always quote and reference great writers like Hemingway.
- The articles analyze the habits and routines of these writers.
- The recommendation is, in one form or another, to write daily.
You lock yourself in a room, write at least 500 words, free from distractions, use freewriting, separate writing from editing, follow a schedule, and all those recommendations fall under this same overarching theme.
But that’s where the problem begins. Writing is an activity. It’s something you do — write words. It’s not a goal. And it certainly doesn’t help you improve.
The Problem With Writing as a Goal
I’m not saying that all this advice won’t help. It does. In fact, I practice and revisit it every once in a while. But writing is not my goal and it shouldn’t be yours either.
I came from a business background. I mainly write articles for digital marketing — pillar pages, blog posts, video scripts. The one thing I learned after a decade is that the only true measure of success or failure is market feedback.
This is true for everything we do, not just in business or in writing. Allow me to explain. Only the customer determines our success or failure.
- Career — you interview to get a job. The hiring manager determines whether you get it or not.
- Startups — the majority of them fail because there is no product-market fit. No customer is willing to buy or pay for what they developed.
- Writing — little to no traffic, readers aren’t interested.
Of course, there are other factors involved. But the key takeaway is that no matter how innovative or creative your idea is, only the customer can determine its success or failure. Only someone external can give real feedback. Even if you think your work is a masterpiece and your best work, only the market can determine that.
Focus on Publishing Instead
Or something related that gets you market feedback. Here are a few examples:
- When you publish a post, that’s the only time other people get to read it.
- When you submit to a publication on Medium, it either gets accepted and published or not.
- When you share and talk about your stories, you learn which parts are more interesting than others.
All the examples above get you feedback from the customer. Depending on your situation, your customers can be your readers, editors, and social media followers.
Writing is internal, publishing is external.
And to quote Drucker, “results are only on the outside.”
Over to You
You can write all day every day yet not improve. Stop focusing on writing and shift your thinking to publishing instead. Or at least, get other people to read your work.
Follow all the advice to help you write better, but don’t stop there.
Go beyond writing. Hit publish. Hit submit. Share your drafts. Get real feedback.
So, when are we going to see your work?