For as long as I’ve been a published author, I’ve heard some writers say they write when they are inspired, while others have a routine for writing.
So, which is more effective? I suppose it depends on the person, but as a published author many times over, if I had to wait to be inspired, I would likely still be working on my first book.
These Experts Are Disciplined
I have lots of friends, colleagues and clients who have written and published at least one book. Many have several books published. Most will tell you their formula for success is discipline first followed by inspiration.
I often hear aspiring authors say, “I write when I’m inspired.” Many of these same men and women stare at a blank computer screen day after day and have yet to publish anything.
On the flip side, I hear from authors who have several books to their credit say, “When I discipline myself to sit down and write, the inspiration follows.”
Truth vs. Reality
Before I was ever published, I romanced the idea of what it meant to be an author. The fantasy and reality are often worlds apart.
With several books to my name, dozens of information products, thousands of blog posts and articles written and lots of content on social media, this equates to millions of words. A great majority of my writing was done through a routine of writing.
Granted, some of my writing is sparked by a conversation on Facebook or Twitter that inspires me to write. But more times than not, the flow of my words came from scheduling time to write.
My Own Journey with My Memoir
Currently, I’m in a rewrite of my first ever memoir. What I’ve discovered is a memoir requires a different type of writing skill than a business, spiritual or self-help book.
To assure my memoir is the best it can be, I hired a coach/editor who is helping me to pull out more color for a character in my book, a scene or a memory. Without her help, I would be struggling with the process. Working with someone as skilled as her is part of my discipline.
For well over a decade I thought of writing my memoir. Several months ago, I finally got serious about it. I was at a mastermind retreat when the thought, “You have thought about this long enough. It’s time to do it,” struck me.
Right there and then I made the commitment to get at least 60,000 words written in 60 days. To assure I would stay accountable, I posted my goal in a private Facebook group I host.
Each day, I wrote…without fail. No matter how “inspired” I felt, I wrote. To stay accountable, I posted updates of my progress in the Facebook Group.
Thrilled when I achieved my goal, the first draft went to my editor. Little did I realize how much more work would be involved in the rewrite. Yet, because of this, I’m finding the manuscript is taking form in a way I never imagined.
Am I always inspired to work on the manuscript? No, I’m not. Am I disciplined? Yes, I am.
Ironically, every time I stick to my disciplined schedule, I become inspired to share my story through a memoir.
For me, it’s discipline first, followed by inspiration. This is how I’ve written millions of words over the years.
As I’ve worked on the rewrite, I’ve also worked on the marketing foundation. This is another area many authors miss the boat. They are under the misguided assumption all they need to do is write.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. And if I didn’t make myself clear… wrong!
You must market. Whether you’re the one doing the marketing, or you outsource this aspect of your book success, marketing is a must do.
And marketing is more than listing your book on Amazon.
Lest you think I’m not inspired to write, I am. My inspiration comes from knowing my words can, and do, make a difference to my readers. My inspiration comes from knowing I am fulfilling my dream of being a successful, published author. My inspiration comes from knowing, by disciplining myself to write, I am living the life I once only dreamed of. My inspiration comes from knowing I am doing what I am here to do… write.
Do you wait for inspiration or do you incorporate discipline into your writing process?