Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Discipline of Writing

  "Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work."
~Stephen King

Writing is like exercise; you don't get up one morning, decide to run a 10k, lace up the shoes and trot out the door. Both take discipline and time. How can we fit writing into our busy schedules? Wrong question. The question should be how do we fit our busy schedule around writing.
Debbie Macomber (who has sold over 140 million books worldwide) started writing with a rented typewriter while raising four young kids. I remember reading Stephen King's book, 'On Writing' where he described struggling to get to his desk to write while rehabilitating from an auto accident. The man had to write.
I believe in the discipline of Write Every Day. Determine your schedule and where writing can fit, and make it work. First thing in the morning? Set the alarm and get up. If the family pulls you from the keyboard, make a rule: When the coffee cup is on the corner of the desk, don't bother Mom unless the house is on fire. 
For me, I blog every day and guest blog on sites like this. During my Adventure (my wife and I are currently traveling 50 states in 50 weeks on a motorcycle) I'm writing 50 short stories, one for each state. I'm also writing the non-fiction book to document the Adventure, and a few novels. We ride until around four, get settled in and I write. If I can't sleep, I get up and write. 
Since we're traveling, I use an iPad (a challenge in itself) and what I've learned is I can write anywhere; in the tent, a motel, or even post a blog at the airport after hurricane Sandy, waiting for a shuttle. 

You could possibly write and if you get stuck, switch to another project. Just don't let the one tome languish.
Now a Rant: I personally think NaNOWriMo is a recipe for failure. Once a year in November, people punch out fifty thousand words. It probably works for many, but I've seen Facebook posts where people get behind and they need to crank it, caught up in the word count. This reminds me of when a few of us work out at the gym in December. By January we can't get to a machine for the masses working off the 'eating season.' Then they wonder why they struggle with their weight. 
Quality writing takes discipline and time. My friend Maxwell Drake has written since High School and got published- with his sixth book. It may be a lot of writing between your first words and when you write your name on the back of that royalty check. So, fanny in the chair, fingers on the keys. 
Still can't find time to write? Do you watch television? 

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