Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Anyone who has written for any length of time knows that you do not become an author overnight. It takes weeks, months, even years of learning and networking. But the one thing it takes most is discipline. You can learn the lessons, go to conferences, and know every major editor, agent and author out there, but the reality is if you don't force yourself to write, you won't, and you'll never get published.
This might seem a small thing for some, but for others, those who talk about their dream of being published, it is a hard reality. Dreamers dream. Writers write. Writing begets getting published. You cannot have one without the other. If you don't have discipline to write, whether you feel like it or not, when you are unpublished, you will struggle mightily once you are.
One of the greatest gifts I gave myself was permission. I began to see myself as a writer. Writing became my job. No, not 9 to 5, but close enough that I adjusted my schedule so that I carved out the time needed to write every day. And, yes, whether I felt like it or not. I gave myself permission to use those three hours as as investment in a dream I wanted to obtain. It meant enough to me that I was willing to sacrifice other things I would have rather done. Let's face it, there are those days when the words don't flow and the temptation to check your email or dabble in Twitter becomes an irresistible outlet for your frustration. Forcing yourself to write through these challenges will help you prove to yourself that you can do it. The writing might not be the greatest and, yes, you might end up cutting more words than you create, but this is where you realize what a good friend editing is.
Writing takes discipline. There is no boss standing over you and evaluating your performance on a daily basis. If you want to be an author, you will have to first be a disciplined writer.