Writing has been compared to a muscle — the more you write, the easier it is to write. By exercising the writing muscle, a person may find it easier to write in the future.
A lot of writing advice says to write at the same time each day, make a habit of it, write consistently for an hour, don’t write when inspiration hits you but write regardless of inspiration or not. I’ve found that it has to go both ways – I must write daily, but also write when inspiration hits.
These days, I’ve been working on my dissertation almost constantly, and I’ve been working a lot from home. I build two hours into my day for solid writing, and two hours for editing. However, I find that more and more, I spend time in the lunch hour or the reading hour or even after hours writing. Not necessarily on my dissertation at all those times, but on other things, like blog posts or even personal writing projects. That is, the more I force myself to write, the more comfortable I feel with writing, and the more my brain gets attuned to writing things. Writing has become a pleasure again.
Outside of the two hours built into my schedule, I find that it’s really important to write when you are inspired. For me, if I don’t write something when I think of it, I will inevitably lose it. Since I am able to work from home a lot of days, I am always near a computer; when I am on campus or otherwise, I always have a notebook with me just in case. I have found that I can’t afford to think “I’ll just remember this for later, when I’m doing my daily writing tomorrow” — the inspiration for whatever it was will be gone. Perhaps professional writers, who have more of a polished mind for these things, can operate like that; I can’t, and perhaps because my writing muscle is not as toned as theirs. So I write whenever I can, however I can, and about anything I can.