Now that’s when building a “positive habit” creeps in.
Success, as they always say, is not an act but a habit. We are what we repeatedly do and as a writer, that means beating procrastination and the notorious “writer’s block” to give the world something to read.
If you’re an outsider to the writing profession, you might assume that what writers do everyday is just sit in front of their computers and spit out words spontaneously. Some of you might even think that freelance writing is the easiest job in the world—thanks to the biased media who portray writers as lazy, lifeless hermits.
How I wish writing life can be that carefree. But it’s not.
Writing requires a truckload of self-discipline
I write for a living.
So unlike other casual writers, I don’t have any choice but to hone my craft day after day.
At first, the passionate writer in me welcomed the idea of churning out at least 500 words a day as an exhilarating experience. And who am I to complain if I’m getting paid to do what I really love?
But as months went by, I found myself falling to the ground, face first. As a newcomer, I never thought that becoming a writer-entrepreneur also entails intense battle between good and evil–between my productive side and a lazier ‘me’ who always settles for less.
There are some days when I’m too passionate that I can easily write a thousand words within a few minutes. But more often than not, I just find myself daydreaming—wishing that one day, I can quickly turn into a best-selling author without all the years of struggling and writing under the cloak of obscurity.
But then reality always sets in.
There is no shortcut to success. And as a writer, I have to follow the same principle that Stephen King and other word magicians stick with to get better in what they do:
Have a writing habit!
Write when you feel like writing. Write even when you feel like crap. WRITE EVERYDAY.
One of the best inspirational books I have read is “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell. But it’s neither about rags-to-riches stories nor dramatic fairy tales; it’s all about facts–what is success, the factors behind it and how ordinary people transform to become one of the world’s greatest.
Probably the best takeaway I got from the book is the “10,000 hour rule”. Simply put, in order for one to be prolific at anything, he should dedicate at least 10,000 hours of his life doing it. And this is true especially for athletes, musicians, scientists and, of course, writers.
So that means I have yet to reach an expert level. And that also entails more work from my part.
But the 10,000 hour rule also teaches us one valuable lesson in business: You won’t last for 10,000 hours if you don’t love what you do in the first place.
So whether you have reached your first 1,000 hours or not, what’s important is you love what you do and the journey is always more important than the destination itself.
Writing is hard. Writing requires sacrifices. Writing can beat you up.
But if you love what you do, polishing your craft day in and day out can be the most fulfilling experience of all.
What’s your writing habit and how do you keep your writing motivation intact?
Do you use a journal to kick start your writing muse?
Fell free to share your thoughts on the comment section below!
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