With writing, as with anything you strive to improve, you need to do it often. Daily is best. But some days, you just don't feel like it. Is it because you're bored re-editing the same story for the seventh time so that it can shine above the competition? Is it because mentally, you're just in a place where you aren't able to write? Or is it something else?
Often, I think that we can push through our doubts or fears about success and failure, but sometimes we really do just need to take a break. Sometimes that break is longer than expected but that doesn't mean it wasn't necessary or good.
Olympians, for example, work tirelessly toward a single goal: the gold medal. In order to achieve that accomplishment, it takes hard work, dedication, talent, and fortitude. The athlete needs to be able to push aside negative thoughts and focus on achieving goals, growing stronger, and continuing to improve.
The writer's life is similar.
Though, I admit, it's not always easy to force the negative away. Often, it is easier to sit on the couch and binge watch a TV show or play video games or go out with friends. But achieving a difficult goal that few ever will like winning a gold medal or writing a bestseller requires sacrifice.
If it was easy, everyone would do it.
Mental, emotional, and spiritual health are just as important as physical health to achieving your goals. As Simone Biles displayed in Tokyo to the world, we are all allowed to take a step back to focus on our well-being. No matter the stage. Whether your writing in your tiny apartment for an audience of one or twisting through the air off a vault in front of an audience of millions on national TV, it doesn't matter. You're still a person. You still get tired. Like the body needs rest, the mind needs to repair from fatigue, too.
So yes, write often. Read more. But do the things that bring you joy, too. Life isn't all about sacrifices, though they are necessary to reach our goals. Life is the journey. Take it slow with small daily goals and work toward increasing your output. If you push too hard too fast, you'll burn out and need a longer break before jumping back in.
But when you reach a big goal (like finishing a novel or getting feedback from your writing group on the last chapter), congratulate yourself. That's a fantastic, huge achievement!
However, keep striving toward the next goal. Set a new one so you can gauge your progress. Don't stop the momentum. Keep building it and one day, you'll stand at the top of the podium, i.e. the NYT Best Seller List.