Unless you’re one of the top five wage earning writers who happen to be lucky enough to do it for both:
James Patterson (who apparently writes in long hand – there’s no computer in his office.)
Stephenie Meyer (even though she didn’t release a title in 2009 - but she does have Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner playing Bella, Edward and Jacob in the movie versions.)
Stephen King (who apparently published a poem in Playboy – maybe they really do read it for the articles – as well as backlists, short stories and reviews.)
Danielle Steel (who has recently announced at 71 of her books will be available from Amazon and Sony.)
Ken Follett (who’s book Pillars of the Earth placed second to To Kill a Mockingbird in The Times poll of greatest novels of the last 60 years. One wonders if a move up the list isn’t in his future after the miniseries based on the book aired in July.)
It’s all brilliant and good to love writing when it’s going well, but what about when it’s not. I’m sure the aforementioned authors had their bad days. No doubt they’re hardworking, dedicated and talented but, come on, no gets by without a bad day...or month.
But writers write. It’s a famous quote and everything. And that’s exactly what we do. We write. Whether things are going well or not. As an unpublished author I’m working on getting a handle on this whole self-discipline thing because I need it to accomplish my writing goals. No one is pushing me but myself and that can be a challenge when trying to meet goals. In the past I have allowed deadlines to dictate necessary action but that’s not good enough anymore and not only is not good enough, it’s not going to get the job done.
What I need is self-discipline.
Self-discipline involves keeping the big picture front and center. To act instead of react. To make sacrifices in order to honour a dream. Therefore, it is self-discipline that will drive me to:
- Work on an idea or project after the initial rush of enthusiasm has faded away.
- Keep my butt in the chair with hands on keyboard typing away madly instead of choosing to lie on the couch and veg in front of the TV.
- Wake up early to get a head start.
- Say “no” when tempted by instant gratification remedies which will make me forget I’m having a weak writing day.
- Only check various social media sites at specific times of the day.
How about you? Do you practice self-discipline? Or is it something you wish you had?