|Photo credit: Patrick Gage on Flickr|
By and large, however, especially for unpublished writers, we write because we want to. Because the thought of not writing is more painful than forcing ourselves to sit down and actually get words on paper. Because we are, to our very cores, writers.
Sounds great, doesn't it? We writers have the fantastic opportunity of doing something that we love whenever and wherever we want for (nearly) free, with only time constraints and life things to get in the way.
But there is a downside, namely, that no one is forcing us to write.
Allow me to explain. In a normal nine to five job, if an employee decides that they don't feel like working, or they're too tired to work, or too stressed out, or whatever it may be, most times said employee can't just decide not to work, at least, not for very long. Most bosses don't care if you had a rough night and would rather sleep in and enjoy a nice hot cup of coffee or tea instead of getting up early for the job. As a contracted employee, you have to work. Period.
But when it comes to unpublished writers, that's not exactly the case. There are a million and two reasons not to write: you're too busy, too tired, too sick, too exhausted from your other job/ school/ parenting/ all of the above, or you just can't think of anything to write today. Especially when your writing isn't paying the bills, it can be difficult to find motivation to continue.
In short, writing requires a huge amount of discipline.
Writing is a choice. A passion. And it's a lot of work that often goes unrewarded and mostly unappreciated for years. This is something you have to accept when you set out to be a writer. It's an unavoidable truth, and without enough discipline, chances are you won't last.
I'm not saying that to be mean; it's just the truth. I see writers all the time who say they can't write because they've been hit with a terrible case of writer's block, or because they're not in the writing mood, or a hundred other reasons. And that's all good and well for a day, maybe two, but when you allow those excuses to accumulate, you'll soon find it's been a couple months and you haven't made any progress in your writing at all, and where has the time gone?
Discipline isn't optional for writers — it's a necessity if you hope to ever take your writing seriously. Because the only one demanding that you write is you, and if you don't keep yourself motivated, if you don't keep yourself writing, you may soon find that you've lost time you could have used to improving your craft to no one but yourself.
What do you think? Am I overstating how important discipline is for writers? How important is discipline to you?