You aren’t going to be productive every single day. And as a writer, you know there are days when you simply can’t write. That’s why you need an every damn day list for writers.
Look. Some days I wake up and feel ready to tackle the world. Other days I wake up and I need a full pot of coffee to feel half human. Life is like that.
Some days I’m going to feel smart and sassy and accomplished. Other days I will feel like if the moldy loaf of bread in the back of my pantry made a wish to be a real girl.
On my moldy loaf of real girl days, I know I’m not going to be great at writing. And while I know there are millions of blog posts out there that encourage writers to write no matter what, some days you gotta take the L, give yourself a little compassion, and just do the bare minimum.
That’s what the every damn day list is all about.
What Is an Every Damn Day List?
Every damn day, meaning in both the best of times and worst of times. That’s what this list is for.
Basically, an every damn day list is a list of things you do every damn day. Pretty straight forward.
But the reason it exists is to remind you that you’ve done some stuff. Like, we all have those days where the burn out finally catches up and we know we’re not going to be models of productivity.
On those days, we take breaks. But we can also have a small list of things we do to make us feel just a little bit better.
Here’s what Sarah from Yes and Yes had to say about it:
An Every Damn Day List is a list of small, suuuuuper doable things we do every blessed day – things that will make our lives just slightly better and easier. These are tiny things we can do regardless of deadlines, laundry piles, or sick partners.
The items on our lists are things that give us a tiny boost, a little spark of health or happiness regardless of how the rest of the day goes. They’re small effort, big(ish) impact things that help us feel like Proper Functioning Adults rather than Human Tornados Fueled By Pizza Rolls And Coffee.
I like to think of this list as the things I do that keep me on my game. They may seem small, but they keep me from spiraling or feeling like I haven’t done anything worthwhile.
And the best part is that these are small things.
And, as a writer, having a list of things I can do every single freakin’ day to make me feel like I’m not some impostor or failure keeps me from ruminating on my lack of progress in my work in progress.
A Note About Brains and Their Sundry Chemicals (and Our Environments)
I recognize that not everyone has the same brain in their heads. Not everyone has the same structure to their day, and not everyone has the same ability to tackle tasks.
Also, anyone that says you have the same 24 hours every day that everyone else does is an asshole. Yeah, we all have the same time. But we definitely don’t have the same resources, and pointing to hours instead of money, energy, privilege, or like a billion other things is a total dick move.
For what it’s worth, I’m not exactly neurotypical. That’s why burn out is kind of a constant in my life. I’m pretty much existing in a world that wasn’t designed for me.
And even though this is an every damn day list, know that there are days where I cannot make myself do it.
So, if reading this is demoralizing to you, I get it. There have been times in my life when I wouldn’t be able to even conceptualize doing something consistently, much less something for my writing.
While I love the Yes and Yes blog, I fully concede that the advice given there isn’t for everyone. I don’t know Sarah personally, but she gives off some pretty neurotypical vibes. Also, she’s a white, able-bodied woman who grew up pretty middle class, though she is the daughter of two teachers, which shaped her views on money.
For the record, I’m a neurodivergent, multiethnic, able-bodied woman and daughter of an immigrant. I was raised pretty solidly working class, though if I have children, they will be middle class.
I think it’s important to share this information when we talk about productivity and approaching our day. Some of you may think it’s stupid, and the idea of an every damn day list may make you roll your eyes. Some of you may read this and feel completely overwhelmed by the idea of it.
Everyone is different, and not all advice is universal. Take care of yourself the way you need to, okay?
My Writing Every Damn Day List
As a writer, I always feel behind the eight ball. Sure, if this blog is publishing posts all the damn time, that may look good on the outside. But that generally means I’m not doing much on the fiction writing front.
And if I’m bringing in some freelance cash, that generally means I’m not doing a ton on the blog or fiction.
If I have some fiction about to launch, then that generally means my life is in chaos, and I need an adult.
Even so, I like having an every damn day list for writing. It helps me feel like I’ve done some writing-related stuff that day, even if my word count isn’t where I want it to be.
Here’s my every damn day writing list:
- Go outside at least once. I make myself go outside at least once. This could be a four-mile walk. It could be me standing on the back porch with my dog.
- Read something that inspires me. It could be a poem, a chapter in a novel, a well-written news story, anything.
- Drink at least 64 ounces of water. Please know that on my most high functioning days, I have over a gallon of water. Consuming 64 ounces is my minimum. I’m not saying it should be yours. I’m just used to drinking a lot more water than most people.
- Listen to music. Without the music, I struggle to let my mind wander and come up with the ideas it needs to for writing.
- Daydream. Even if I’m not going to write that day, I like to daydream.
That’s it. Not a lot of writing. But if you’re a burnt out writer, writing can’t always happen.
An Every Damn Day List for Fiction Writers
I know everyone and their brother is going to tell you to write ever single day. I don’t think that’s always possible. Plus, sometimes your brain just needs some time to chill. Here’s some ideas for your every damn day list if you’re a fiction writer:
- Read something inspiring. It can be anything, just pick something that makes you appreciate language and what people can do with it.
- Research for your story world. It can be a cursory Google search, maybe making a playlist your characters would’ve liked, or even watching a show that takes place in a similar world.
- Be alone with your thoughts. Let your brain have some quiet time to tell you all the things inside of it. This will either clear your head for writing, or give you space to daydream.
- Share about yourself on social media, not your writing. Just be a person. That’s what the writer’s presence online needs the most.
An Every Damn Day List for Bloggers
Blogging can make you feel like you’re some kind of internet weirdo, just scrolling all day so you can get the information you need. Having a list of things to do every single day can be a way to avoid the mindless scrolling. Here are some ideas for bloggers to put on their lists:
- Read blog-specific news. Keep up with Google’s best practices and see what’s going on with your competitors.
- Keep an eye on trends in your niche. This could be as simple as looking at the calendar and thinking about what you’ll need to post for the upcoming season.
- Read something that makes you want to write a post. This could be a blog post or a news story. It could also be a poem. Whatever you need!
- Step away from the computer and get some perspective. Don’t be one of those bloggers who lives so much up their own ass that they have no idea what their reader needs.
An Every Damn Day List for Freelance Writers
Freelance can feel very “everything, everywhere, all at once” with how many things you’re juggling. Between clients, deadlines, and your own life, it’s a lot. So here is a list of things freelance writers might want to put on their list to help them stay focused:
- Cultivate a new skill. You don’t have to master anything. Feel free to research classes or watch some YouTube videos to help you learn something that will help you in your career.
- Research your industry. Subscribe to newsletters and read blogs that cover your niche.
- Look at your deadline schedule. Keeping this top of mind will help you avoid having to write all night to catch up or missing deadlines.
- Share your availability with the world. If you have a hole in your schedule coming up, let them know. It’s never too early to let people know they need to book you now.
What All Writers Need on Their Every Damn Day Lists
Now, since I’m all three of these writers, I have a list of things that I know works across all career types. Feel free to add these to your every damn day list:
- Keep your routine. Don’t stay up just for fun or put off your workout. Keeping your routine makes it easier to jump back into writing when you’re ready.
- Maintain your space. I’m the worst at this, but having an organized and functional workspace makes it so much easier to stay productive.
- Write down ideas when they come to you. It’s never too late to build your own my ideas journal.
- Call yourself a writer. Even if you didn’t write that day. This is non-negotiable.
What’s on Your Writing Every Damn Day List?
What’s one thing you have to do every single day to feel productive? As a writer, what do you need to feel inspired? Are you also a water drinking fiend? Are you pissed I didn’t tell everyone to write every single day?