For the past few days, I’ve been fighting a cold. I cut out as much as I could from my daily activities, doing only what had to be done. I stopped exercising and skipped my morning writing routine. Though I still wrote during my illness, I only did what I could not put off: maintaining my blogging schedule and meeting deadlines for my publications.
The writing I did do, however, I fear was not my best work. But it was the best I could cobble together with a head numbed by cold remedies and a body aching to lay down. Even today, I have not yet fully exited that muddled state of being.
Though I still wrote every day while I was sick, I feel a bit guilty over not writing with intention. I covered the essentials but nothing more. I maintained the letter of the law (my law) by writing every day, but I missed the spirit of the law (my law) by not being intentional.
My intentional writing moves my books forward towards eventual publication. This is the type of writing I must do every day to succeed and grow as a writer. Intentional writing is goal-oriented.
My essential writing is an end in itself, done to meet a commitment or out of necessity. This type of writing may increase my writing speed but does little to foster increased quality. Essential writing is task-oriented.
Essential writing reminds me of mowing the lawn, doing it over and over again. Intentional writing reminds me of landscaping, more permanent and immensely satisfying. It is art and it sustains me.
To achieve writing success, I must write every day, but I must also be intentional in what I write.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.