Discipline - A-Z Challenge - Starting & Sustaining A Writing Career

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Writers who aren't hobbyists will offer the same information I'm about to share here. A key ingredient for the career writer is discipline, which has to be applied early in the journey. 

It's a good idea to form the habit of writing as often as you can. Many writers recommend writing daily, but that might not be possible all the time. The important thing, however, is to get used to working toward a target. Holding yourself accountable will get your there. The definition of discipline I like best is 'activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training'

If you're just starting out, there's no better time to teach yourself how to plan your activities so they yield maximum returns. Before I earned my first publishing contract, I wrote before work, during lunch time and in the evenings. While the writing was a mess, by the time I knew what I was doing (can you say tons of editing?), I had enough books written to ensure I got two additional contracts on the heels of the first.

Each book you produce helps to sell others, so keep busy and add to your body of work gradually. This has worked well for me and it's a proven sales strategy. If I click on any of my books on Amazon, the 'readers-who-bought-this-book-also-bought-xxxx' feature will show that people go on to buy other books I've written.

There's no excuse for not sitting down to write as often as you can. You'll be grateful you did when your books hit the marketplace and readers start asking when the next book will be out. The time to write as much and as often as you can is now when you aren't writing under pressure to produce the next book. Published writers know that time becomes a scarce commodity once their first book goes on sale. There's no time like the present and the time to be disciplined is now.

 
Self-discipline is an act of cultivation. It requires you to connect today's actions to tomorrow's results. There's a season for sowing and a season for reaping. Self-discipline helps you know which is which.
                                                                  - Gary Ryan Blair

35 comments:

  1. Great advice - thanks for sharing. I'm definitely just a hobbyist writer, but these are all valuable lessons to learn about life in general.

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  2. That's right - keep writing. Those long pauses in between kill. Trust me...

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  3. That's the big D, all right! And it's among the hardest of all the things to do as a writer.

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  4. So true! And it's really a mind game. I've just completed a writing project in six weeks that I never would have been able to do without deliberate attempts at changing my discipline. And now that it's done, I am convinced future writing will follow suit and I'll get more titles sooner than I ever thought possible! Great post. Happy A-to-Z!

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  5. Discipline and persistence is the key to success in so many areas. I always say that I'm not very talented, but I'm persistent - that spans a lot of gaps!

    Great advice!
    Cherdo
    www.cherdoontheflipside.com

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  6. I had to relearn discipline after I became a full time writer. I just kept thinking I had all day and soon the day was gone. I'm better at it now.

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  7. One of the things I would have liked to change when I got into this was wait to get my first book out until I had another ready. I hit some unexpected bumps and that really slowed me down.

    ~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Member of C. Lee's Muffin Commando Squad
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

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  8. Discipline....if only I wasn't so good at distraction! Good advice - that I am trying to follow!

    Happy AtoZ
    Stuart
    www.stuartlennon.com

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  9. The cat has that as he is a s disciplined as can be

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  10. Great word, and a necessary word in any field...working from home, writing, crafting, life in general. Without discipline, you get nothing accomplished.

    Sandy at Bridge and Beyond Will add you to my blog log of those who are visiting from a-z in the right side bar.

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  11. Great advice. It is very true that finding time for writing was easier before being published. Promo, deadlines, and the dreaded edit all come out of writing time - especially if you have a day job.
    http://stormiekent.com/blog/

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  12. Excellent advice. I aim to write a minimum of 500 words daily. That takes 20-30 minutes so I can fit this into my lunch break get more done at the weekends. Building a body of work is so important fit building a presence.

    http://www.tdharveyauthor.com

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  13. Excellent advice. I aim to write a minimum of 500 words daily. That takes 20-30 minutes so I can fit this into my lunch break get more done at the weekends. Building a body of work is so important fit building a presence.

    http://www.tdharveyauthor.com

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  14. Discipline and determination are two D's that you need to create and maintain a writing career. Great post and spot-on advice!

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  15. could do with a little more discipline. modhukori.

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  16. I'm definitely working on the discipline thing! Admittedly I've only been full-time for two weeks, and those two weeks were full of preparations for the Challenge, but one of my goals for this next week is setting a real schedule for myself. I did sign up for Camp NaNoWriMo, so am hoping that trying to meet those goals will help. We shall see... :)
    ~AJ Lauer
    an A-Z Cohost
    @ayjaylauer on Twitter

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  17. I used to write all the time, but I have lacked discipline the past several years. Thanks for the advice - I've been trying so hard to get back into the writing habit and that's part of the reason why I signed up for the A to Z Challenge. My blog is at http://www.writerscrossing.blogspot.com.
    -Meg

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  18. I am definitely still a hobbyist writer, although taking it to deeper levels is not out of the question for me. I love your suggestion of working toward a target. That's why I dusted off my blog after neglecting it for about a year and a half. Just reading about the A to Z Challenge inspired me to post again in February and participating has been fun and a great way to get into writing again.
    http://www.elizabethotten.blogspot.com

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  19. It has taken me years as a writer to come to the point where I have discipline. But it's well worth the effort. Great advice.

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  20. Although it seems counter-intuitive, discipline is a concept that applies to all creative endeavors. Thanks for the needed reminder! Looking forward to seeing more sage advice. Happy A to Z! - Jeri visiting from storytellingmatters.wordpress.com

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  21. I agree discipline is very important for writing. I'm used to writing at certain times of the day, and when I can't do it, I get writing withdrawal.

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  22. So, we should produce many books before publishing any? That's good advice as I think too many jump in before they're ready. Later books will be better quality, because we've got into the habit of discipline which will make our work stronger.

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  23. No excuses, just do it. Great advice.

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  24. Discipline. Yes, I could use a bunch more writing discipline. Sigh. Good reminder.

    Jean, back from the Grand Tour and visiting for the A-Z Challenge from Rantings and Ravings of an Insane Writer Number 209 on the A-Z List.

    Jean Schara
    Blackbirds First Flight (Quin)
    Blackbirds Second Flight (Glaring Upheaval and Fluffy Malone)

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  25. I used to have lots of time to write and now that I don't I wish I'd been more fruitful in the time that I used to have. Though, those old words would have to undergo a severe amount of editing now. These days I cram as many words in during the little time that I have.

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  26. Discipline is important to master but hard to learn.

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  27. I lack discipline and will be the first to admit it. Sad panda.

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  28. Loving your series so far! I write regularly but need "outside" discipline when it comes to editing, for instance a deadline imposed by a contest I'd like to enter. Without that push, I linger and procrastinate...

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  29. Discipline is one of my stronger points.
    Great piece of advice - "The time to write as much and as often as you can is now when you aren't writing under pressure to produce the next book."
    I hear you loud and clear!
    Happy D-Day!

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  30. Discipline is hard for me, I'm my own worst enemy!

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  31. If it wasn't for my disability wiping me out mentally for even writing an hour, I would be writing everyday all day long. I look forward to the day when I am not plagued by a disability, and that I can dedicate myself to just writing all day long.

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  32. Anyone for a game of "squirrel"? -- seems I end up playing anytime I attempt to sit down and do any kind of writing.... That or deal with distraction from family.

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  33. This is my biggest problem.
    Right here.

    Heather

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