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Writing Takes Discipline

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger on May 21, 2013 4:47:03 AM

The title of this post may sound extremely obvious, but it's important. I keep meeting people who tell me they want to write a book and/or are working on a book. Most of the time, unfortunately, their talk never turns into an actual book.

 

These folks, who I'm sure truly do want to become authors, remind me of the people I see packing the classes every January at the yoga studio I frequent. They've clearly made New Year's resolutions to get in shape, so they sign up for yoga and jump in eagerly. But by February, they're gone. I imagine they have all sorts of reasons for why they stopped coming to class. Too busy with work/kids/family. Not enough time. Schedule conflicts. Etc. etc. etc.

 

These are all excuses. The simple truth is that yoga is HARD, and it takes a lot of discipline to go to class on a regular basis and get into good shape.

 

It's the same thing with writing. Even if you have a wonderful idea for a book, writing a book is HARD. In addition to the sheer creative effort, it's not like a regular job where you have to show up or you'll get fired. It's up to you to sit down today and tomorrow and the day after that and just write.

 

I once spoke on a panel with a woman who said she approached writing her book the same way she approached training for a marathon. I thought that was a great way to look at it. You can't just show up and run 26.2 miles without training, and a book isn't just going to appear on your computer screen because you really want to be an author.

 

While the "lifestyle of a writer" can sound idyllic because no one is looking over your shoulder, it also requires discipline and self-motivation. The more seriously you take your writing, the more likely you are to succeed.

 

-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, and Chocolate for Two. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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7,722 Views Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, craft, discipline


May 22, 2013 10:40 PM EelKat    says:
it's not like a regular job where you have to show up or you'll get fired.

Actually this is EXACTLY how I look at it. I treat my writing as a full time job. I have set hours when I "have" to work (write, edit, research, etc) and I spend between 8 to 14 hours a day 4 to 5 days a week doing just that. I look at it as: if I don't work (write) I won't get paid (have books to sell) and I'll get fired (lose fans who got tired of waiting for my next book release). When I'm doing my job I am able to publish 3 to 4 new books a year, when I slack off it could be only 1 book every other year! It DOES effect your income, because people getting in the buying momentum and they'll buy each new release as they come out, but they can only do that if you actually have new releases coming out like clockwork and that's only gonna happen if you treat your job as a writer, like a job.

 

I know a lot of self pubbers look at this as a side income, or a way to make a hobby pay, nd so they can get by with a few hundred sales a year, but for me, this IS my income, so I have to make it pay at least minimum wage, and that means a lot of work.

Jun 1, 2013 5:43 AM niiganab    says:

I do have "someone looking over my shoulder."  The memory of my teacher, an advisor and a family member or two.  And there are others who are keeping an eye on me- readers of the articles I write for the community newspaper.  That helps tremendously to keep my nose to the grindstone.

Jun 17, 2013 12:05 PM TVOG    says:

Quite correct! Perfect proof was the piece I wrote during National Novel Writing Month -- one has no more than 30 days to write 50,000 words...or more. I disciplined myself to write every night -- not even during the day, since I have a day job, and found myself at 64,000 words on the 24th day, even after taking two days off because of ... writers block ... or whatever was really slowing me down those days. So, Maria, I totally agree, and will no doubt undertake another effort this coming November.

Jun 17, 2013 6:33 PM MelThorn    says:

It's absolutely advised to take time to write every day-- but it's also important not to force yourself when those creative juices aren't flowing. The internal work suffers for it, and sometimes I end up writing entire scenes that just don't work, or I end up deleting anyway because it wasn't satisfying. Sometimes "forcing" yourself to write doesn't work out. Discipline is very important, but don't stress yourself out. Now, I usually do something to calm my brain and intensify my focus if it fails me, so I suppose it's best everyone try to find something that works for them.

 

If you're not feeling it, take a break. Sometimes I will stop working on the book, and brainstorm new ideas and write them down while I can't think about my current work. I've come up with many ideas for books this way.

Jun 17, 2013 7:32 PM allisjames    says:

I remember back when when I started writing what was to be my first novel. I just bought a Word Processor and was inspired to write something big. As a poet I have little discipline in my writing. I write when the mood hits or whenever I bring pen and paper together. The novel though was different. I had no idea what I was doing, much less what I was writing, but I had an idea and I took it as far as I could. For a year I worked on that novel pretty much every day. I usually wrote after work which was after 11 pm. It was a great experience. The novel sucked, but the experience was very educational.

 

A couple years ago I had the idea for a ghost story. I wrote it freehand and put a lot of time into that project (not yet completed). Even though I primarily write poetry, I have had a taste of story writing and wish I had better skill and discipline in that area. Erica Jong writes poetry and novels and does both very well. I need to invest more time into story writing. It is hard work, but very satisfying.

Jun 19, 2013 8:43 PM ShellieJ    says:

Absolutely,I remember years ago when I first began writing I never once thought of becoming an author, a self- published one for that matter. The day I decided to self publish came at the right time, it all came down to timing. I've been writing for years, honing my skills, the fluidity of what I was writing or who I was writing about. The every day person inspires me, when it happens that is when I write best, it's not forced or put on. The Poetry Diaries came about so unexpected a couple years ago and have to admit that bringing this poetry book to light is the true essence of bringing people together,making connections. Now with two poetry books released through CreateSpace I feel a sense of renewal and can't wait to dig into my next book. Writing has always been around, my mom is an avid book reader and reminds me often to expose myself to more reading.She's my motivation and having that makes me take more time and all the time I need to produce something someone will walk away and say, WOW! that is some good stuff, she really get's me better than I do. To me is truly the greatest gift, having that connection with someone.

Jun 24, 2013 11:06 AM Rerevisionist    says:

It's said that the Russian author Turgenev (or Tourgenieff, or other spellings) made his servant chain him to his writing desk every morning.  One way of making yourself concentrate.