In one of my Seekerville posts awhile back I shared several writerly quotes from the newspaper’s cryptoquote puzzle section. I deciphered another one this week that seems quite apropos for us writers:
“Everything is possible as long as you put your mind to it and you put the work and time into it.” -- Olympic Gold Medalist Michael PhelpsOkay, maybe not everything is possible (for a human being, anyway). But Michael has the right idea. We don’t get anywhere in this business without a huge investment of time, work, and will power. How are you doing in each of those departments?
Time. What’s your writing schedule like? Do you even have a schedule? Even putting in 30 minutes a day is 30 minutes of writing you wouldn’t have completed otherwise. Repeat that five times in a week and you’ve tallied up two and a half hours. That’s nothing to sneeze at. Do an hour a day, and there’s five hours in a week. How many words can you churn out in an hour? They all add up.
Work. How hard are you willing to work at improving your craft? Getting words on the page is important--vital, in fact. But so is learning and study. How many books and magazine articles on writing technique have you read this year? Have you taken any online courses? Attended any conferences? Which industry blogs do you visit regularly? How many published books in your genre have you read and analyzed to see why they work (or don’t)? Have you traded critiques with a wise and honest fellow writer? Have you entered contests where you could get valuable feedback? And afterward, did you evaluate the comments and revise your manuscript accordingly?
Will power. Otherwise known as stick-to-it-iveness. And after 25 years in this business, I know a little about this subject. If you don’t want it badly enough, believe me, it’ll never happen. Unfortunately, you can also want it really badly and it still may not happen. But that’s God’s decision, not yours. To fall back on a favorite Randy Ingermanson quote, “If God has called you to write, then don’t you dare quit. Don’t you DARE!”
If you’re feeling really brave, leave a comment answering the following questions:
- How many hours did you actually write in the past 7 days?
- What is the most recent craft book, online class, or workshop that made an impact on your writing?
- What changes and sacrifices have you made in order to make writing a top priority?
- What’s the one thing that keeps you keeping on?
Remember, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 NASB).
Heartsong Presents and Abingdon Press author Myra Johnson writes what she likes to call “romantic women’s fiction”—emotionally gripping stories about love, life, and faith. Myra's Heartsong Presents romance Autumn Rains (November 2009) won RWA’s 2005 Golden Heart for Best Inspirational Romance Manuscript. Autumn Rains was also a 2010 Carol Award Finalist.
This post first appeared in Seekerville October 14, 2008.
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