The good news is that the only thing you need to do to be a
writer is to write on a regular basis. The bad news is that it’s harder than it
sounds. You should set aside at least an hour and preferably several hours for
writing each day. It should be a time that you consistently spend only focusing
on writing. This becomes Your Writing Time. Note the caps. This is the time you
claim to be completely yours. During this time you don’t answer the phone or
the door, and you ask your family members to leave you alone.
When you have your time set aside,
you have to use it. Don’t wait for your fickle friend inspiration to visit you.
Good writing comes from discipline and hard work, rarely from inspiration.
Writer Robert Masello put it well. He said, “The muse may come and go at will,
silent and unseen, a woman of unpredictable habits and mysterious ways. But
there is one thing every writer does get to know about her over time: She is
irresistibly drawn to the aroma of hard work.” Do you want to know the biggest
difference between published writers and unpublished writers? The answer is
this; writers put their hand to the pen or the keyboard every day.
Besides your regular writing time,
use little bits of leftover time such as a long line at the grocery store, or
sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. Carry a small pad and pen
with you at all times. By writing at places other than your home computer, you
will get in more hours, be a more flexible writer and the change in setting and
writing conditions may inspire you.
One good way to push yourself to
write, is to set a realistic, but challenging word count goal for each day or
each week. Reward yourself when you reach it. The amount you produce each day
will depend on your writing style. James Joyce was reputed to only write seven
words on some days, while mystery writer John Creasey wrote several of his
novels in as little as two days each. Whatever your output the most important
thing is to stay in the room, in front of the keyboard.