One of the challenges to starting and completing a novel (and publishing it) is the concept of “stick-to-itiveness.” Books need to be planned. Words need to be put on the page every single day. Edits need to be made, revisions and corrections need to be followed through on and submissions need to be sent.
Once you’re published (self-pub or trad) you need to market that baby and sell books. Oh, and you want to be starting your next book project. And of course all of this needs to occur while you’re working your day job, going to school, taking care of personal responsibilities and oh, yeah, taking care of yourself too.
It’s a lot to wrap your brain around and even more to stick to. It requires the one thing that most of us lack, though in differing degrees to be sure.
Self – Discipline
Self-discipline is defined as: “the ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses; the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it.” There are many ways to learn/adopt the talent of self-discipline.
You can create a habit, you can reward yourself for your accomplishments. You can find an accountability partner to help you stay on track. You can create affirmations, vision statements, and you can boldly make your goals public. All of this won’t matter at all if you don’t know why you’re writing.
What is Your Reason? What is Your Why?
Self-Discipline is difficult not only because life gets in the way but we also forget our why. Why do you want to write? What’s your reason for writing a book, this book, or for wanting to be published?
What does it give you and how do you feel about your pursuit of being an author? What are your writing goals and why are they your writing goals? (You may not know your answer right away. That’s okay. Take your time answering these questions.)
When You Know Your Why, Hold Onto It For Dear Life. It’s Slippery.
- Envision yourself five years from now. Are you writing?
- Print your why and hang it on your wall over your writing space.
- Journal about your why and your writing. Journaling can help you better understand your reasons for your thoughts and behavior. It can help you get clear and become more aware of who you are and what you want.
- Meditate on your why and your writing.
Back to Self-Discipline – Don’t Overthink It
Most successful writers have a daily habit. They sit down at the computer for a specific amount of time each day or they write a pre-determined number of words. The time and word count aren’t always impressive. Imagine writing 1000 words a day or writing for an hour a day. That’s not a tremendous amount of time. Yet 1000 words a day results in a novel in about three months. That IS significant.
Personally, I approach writing like exercise, my morning coffee or my nightly bath. It’s just something that I do each day. I don’t think about it. I don’t ponder if I have the words in my brain or if I’m feeling it. I just write because it’s time to write.
Yes, some days are better than others and I have to look around the room for my visual symbols of my “Why.” However, even bad writing days are better than non-writing days. Don’t overthink it. You’re a writer. Write. It’s that simple.