Thursday, April 23, 2015

TBT: Discipline - You gotta have it

I was recently reminded how much of the 'art' of writing is actually 'hard work.' I think it's easy to slip into the idyllic belief that storytelling, craft, and writing come easily to some. Heck, maybe it does. But the vast majority of writers I know and follow work hard. Very. Hard. Every. Day.

So, for today's TBT I'm sharing Discipline: You gotta have it.



When you tell people you are a writer they generally react one of two ways: either they perk up and ask if you’ve published anything (believing that publishing is a giant cash cow) or they recoil from you like your disease is contagious.

Some people think writers/artists are worthless and lazy. We all live with our parents or leech off our spouses. We’re dirty because we never shower or take care of our selves. We're willing to just let the world run right over us like this cat:

Most people think we’re all maniacal drug addicts or alcoholics and if you get too close to us our disease of creativity may just spread. And with every stereo type there is likely some truth to those about writers. Well, except the contagious thing.

And although there is a stigma on those who choose creativity as a career it seems self pub or indie pub writers get it the worst.

But we can all agree that writer stereotypes are not universally true. Even though I’ve been known to skip a shower on days when I’m on a roll. I mean, yeah, who’s going to see/smell me when I look like this:

Well, other than my husband. But he’s stuck with me. For writer or worse, right?

All that aside, I’d argue that the successful artists (however you define success) are anything but lazy.

The hottest buzzword around the pub industry is ‘writer entrepreneur’ implying that a writer is actually a self-employed, small business owner. They are the CEO, CFO, COO, CIO, and VIP of Marketing. They are labor and management. I don’t know about you, but to me, that sounds like a TON of hard work.

Avid tweeter Leigh Ann Kopans, author of the upcoming self pub’d ONE, has recently caused some waves with her posts about the work and cost that goes into launching in the self pub world. I think she later redacted her posts because I cannot find them now - but if you read them you know, they were very detailed.

Ultimately, I see hard work and discipline everyday in the pub world. These are skills, people. Hard work and discipline are learned behaviors. Sometimes these skills are handed down from their parents or pounded into us by teachers and coaches. But where we really polish our discipline is at the Day Job, or DJ as I call it.

It takes discipline to do just about anything DJ related because, let’s face it, most of us hate our DJ’s. It takes discipline to go to work, let alone actually do work. It’s easy to hate the DJ and view it as an obstacle to further chasing our dreams of becoming pub’d writers. But while we trudge through the frustration, challenges, and rigor of the DJ we are honing the ability to work hard, manage conflicting priorities, push through obstacles, and overcome.

Writers of all kinds (pre pub, self pub, small press pub, trad pub) need discipline to make it in this industry. Let’s hear it for the Day Job for helping us along our journey.

How has discipline helped you along the path to publication?

If you liked this post check out these Day Job posts:

Day Job - Stability

Day Job - Villains

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