There’s more than one type of binge writing. Not all are bad. When you are forced to find chunks of time in a busy day, binge writing in the form of speed writing can be a way to get a lot done. Some binge writers only have one reasonable chunk of time per day when they can write. Binge writing also goes well as a complement to regular daily writing.
The bad kind of binge writing is trying to get a big pile of writing done in one day or on vacation because you aren’t writing at all on other days. That’s like having one huge meal a week instead of the normal three meals a day. Saving your writing for a binge writing session is a way to guarantee you won’t enjoy it.
There are several reasons binge writing works against productive writing.
1. Writing occasionally is more difficult than writing regularly.
By writing only when you have a large block of time available, you’re going from no writing workload to a huge one. Your plan maximizes the difficulty of writing. Even half an hour of writing a day will make longer writing jobs easier. On top of that, the short writing stints can help reduce the amount of work when the big jobs come due.
2. Large blocks of time are tempting to reschedule
Your plan to write all weekend can easily be replaced by plans to spend all weekend away with friends. Oh, well. I’ll get that writing done in an even bigger binge writing session on that three day weekend coming up. Large blocks of time are needed for many things and since your plan makes writing especially tough, changing plans is easy.
3. Binge writing causes anxiety
A big block of time implies a big block of writing. There’s so much to be written and you can’t do anything fun along the way. The writing has been put off too long. Now you’re stuck with it. All that writing must be done now. Do you really need that kind of pressure?
4. Binge writing tires you out
Sixteen hours of non-stop writing would tire out even the most hardened of writers. There are a few notable exceptions who binge write successfully, but most writers prefer smaller chunks of time.
Is there anything you can think of in your life that you would want to do for an entire day? Even something relaxing like watching TV or playing video games would be tiring.
5. Binge writing requires more prep time
When you put some time into your writing every day, you know what you need to write next. With binge writing, it’s been a while and you need to get up to speed on your writing project(s) before you can begin. That makes the job take even more time.
6. All the above problems confirm your suspicion that writing sucks
When you binge write, you are not getting the most out of writing. Writing becomes a big ordeal that requires a non-stop effort and the result is poor quality. You have negative feelings at both the start and end of the writing binge.
Can binge writing be a good thing?
Despite all of the negatives, many writers prefer binge writing. Martin Caidin wrote his novels non-stop over several days so he could spend most of his time on other things. Many writers prefer to let their next chunk of writing kick around in their head for a few days and then sit down and binge write. A few days. Not a month or two.
If you write every day, a binge writing day can be productive. Focus on topics where you’re already an expert or write fiction you already write well. Save the tougher writing assignments for normal writing days.
I’ve said it a couple of times now. It’s worth repeating. The easiest way to avoid binge writing is to write every day. Even a half hour a day will eventually get the job done.
Article by Ivan Izo.