Finding the Discipline

I'm sitting here in bed nine hours before I want to publish this post and I don't want to write it. 

It's not like I'm trying to write something difficult, or that there's something I know I need to say and I can't find the bravery to write the hard thing, it's just I don't want to do it.

And this is one of the biggest lessons I learned with publishing: sometimes (most times), the work seems tedious. Sometimes, you get too tired to meet your word count goal. Sometimes, the proposal due in two days seem impossible.

For two months, I wrote furiously toward my goal of finishing Come Alive. By the end of the second month, I'd written 55,000 words and knew where I was going and how I would end. But when life happened and a break was necessary, it was almost impossible for me to get back in the game. 

It took me a year and a half to finish the novel.

Finding the discipline to write and hone your craft will be the best thing you can give yourself as a hopeful author. WIthout discipline, the sample chapters will just be some nebulous ideas in the back of your mind. Without discipline, all of those incredible blog post ideas and networking strategies will lay waist in an unopened file on your computer. 

But eventually, you'll realize 500 words really isn't that much at all. The word count goals and deadlines and lack of inspiration suddenly twist in your favor and you remember why you love writing in the first place. It's happened every single time I can't find the words. If I just sit and wait—sit and write the words even if they make no sense—eventually something is going to click and I'm going to find the muse.

When I taught, I always told my students if they wanted to write well they needed to do two things: they needed to write a lot and they needed to read a lot. Facebook won't make you a better writer. Twitter won't help you finish your manuscript. But finding a rhythm within the life you live to write every day will get you that much closer.

Because if I know anything, it's that books get written by sitting down and actually doing the work. 

Posted on April 17, 2013 .