Let Go Of “Should”

One of the most liberating things I’ve learned as a writer is to allow what you’re writing to change, even as you’re in the midst of it.

There are dozens of pages in every journal and project where I’ve changed course mid-sentence, moving on to a new thought or epiphany without bothering to finish the one before. My hand doesn’t move as fast as my brain, and I don’t want to lose this fresh new insight.

And although this makes the completionist in me a little crazy, the freedom to chase down threads and inklings that would otherwise escape is worth it.

So often we get stuck in how we ‘should’ be writing or the correct way of doing it.

But there’s no correct way, and there’s no ‘should’, either.

I don’t believe you should write every day, or that journalling should always be done by hand, or that you should get every sentence right before moving onto the next one.

You can do all those things, but you don’t have to.

You can do all your research before you ever put a word to the page, or you can write the whole piece with placeholders for research to be done afterwards.

You can write in pencil or ballpoint or quill.

You can do it early in the morning, or in snatches through the day, or late at night when the world is quiet.

The beauty of writing is that it’s yours. The process belongs entirely to you.

That’s true whether you’re journalling about your interior world, or if you’re writing copy for a client. How you write, when you write, where you write, whether you hand-write, type or dictate — it’s all your choice.

It’s all up for experimentation and exploration, and no amount of Googling other writers’ routines will make it fit perfectly for you.

There’s no one right way, no single idea or fixed routine that will make your writing work. Let go of should, and see where your experiments take you.