The most important factor in a writer’s life, at least in my opinion, is not mere talent. Neither is it some mysterious entity floating in the air called luck. It is not how much you blog or how less you blog. It is not how much money you spend or how little money you spend. It is not even your profound research and marketing skills. These elements surely help, but the greatest difference and perhaps the most unique too, between writing and other careers is a writer’s level of discipline and confidence. To keep writing, I often find that I must maintain a proper balance of each of them. Believing enough in your ability to write and having a consistent writing practice is often the difference between aspiring authors and published authors. Of course, it does not stop here but it is a step in the right direction.
The advice we hear from like-minded bloggers, agents, editors, or just authors, in general, have always, and perhaps will continue to be, our focus on writing. Because engaging in any activity of whatever sort on a daily basis naturally makes one more familiar with it, we will always hear how important it is to write and to keep writing. While this is good advice, I think that for many writers finding the time to write and sketching out a daily routine is not always easy and this is often underestimated by those who are not writers or those who consider writing to involve less work than other careers.
“Self-discipline, what many call will-power, refers to the ability to persist at difficult or unpleasant tasks until they are completed. People who possess high self-discipline are able to overcome reluctance to begin tasks and stay on track despite distractions. Those with low self-discipline procrastinate and show poor follow-through, often failing to complete tasks even tasks they want very much to complete.” – Wikipedia
When a writer transitions from the workplace to fulfill a writing career, his initial challenge will be to maintain a certain level of self-discipline. For years he has not had to create his own time sheets, develop his own projects, and schedule his own lunch breaks. All of this has been done for him by the corporation in which he has worked for. It is now that, as a full-time writer, he must put in the necessary time to ensure a proper work day, rest, and vacation time.
He must dig deep into his resourceful mind and find the inspiration to write, in some way, daily. If he is not writing, then he must attempt to focus that energy in the direction of reading, social media marketing, offline marketing, and public speaking events to keep in line with the workflow. As we can see, the full-time writer has a lot to do and it is not always easy finding the discipline to get it done.
Sometimes it is just so hard finding the time. What I have come to invest in, however, is my purpose. As long as I remember my purpose and invest in that it is usually enough to keep me moving. This is because discipline works hand in hand with motivation and drive. It is that ingrained, determined urge to attain a goal or satisfy a need. It is the answer to the question, “Why do you write?” This answer is different for each of us but the result is the same. If every full-time writer kept his primary goal, the answer to the question of why he or she must write, always at the forefront of his mind it can undoubtedly become the catalyst to a more disciplined writing life and as a result more material.
Yet, in all of this, a writer must still believe in his ability to write and speak this into existence.
There’s a lot of criticism out there for writers. It is enough to keep us full for a lifetime. Not only in its relation to the backlash geared at Self-Publishers, but many people also do not see entrepreneurship, specifically writing, as being a “real job”. For this reason, confidence is necessary to be an apart of this movement. It is not to think more highly of yourself than you should think, (*caution: recipe for disaster*) since there is a power greater than you. But confidence is the state of feeling certain about something.
Working for you can feel like a blessing and a curse. There is so much to do, so much to strive for and (wait for it) so much failure. But if you believe in that aged old saying, “hard work pays off”, you will allow self-discipline and experience to train you into the professional you need to become.
One of the greatest ways to maintain just enough confidence to get the work done but at the same time maintain just enough humility is to be of help to others as best and as often as you can. What you do always comes back. How you treat others will almost certainly reflect how you yourself are treated. It’s not always about you, and yet your personal goals are still important.
So there’s a balance between our level of discipline–which will get the work done–and our level of confidence, which will keep us going when a project has failed to meet the goal. In the words of Kevin Nance, “failure curdles into something else… I go down into that failed place, and I think, ‘I’m going to take a look at that failure and make something of it”.