The difference between emerging and established writers and aspiring writers often comes down to a question of discipline. Not all, but a significant number of aspiring writers do not make nearly enough time to write on a consistent basis. This lack of effort often translates into a small quantity of work, few, if any, publishing credits, and works that are not to the writer’s potential.
Of course, inspiration can happen at anytime; however, do not let this preclude you from writing even when you do not feel any inspiration. The discipline of a consistent writing schedule has many major positive effects, including:
- Improving your writing. If you make writing a consistent part of your life, rather than a sporadic one, your writing will improve by leaps and bounds. You will begin to notice mistakes and ways to improve even without any instruction, and your prose will be much sharper.
- Producing a larger quantity of work. Rather than having one manuscript, or a few short stories, you’ll have quite a bit more if you discipline yourself to writing on a consistent basis. This assortment of work will allow you to more easily become established. When applying to different literary magazines or publishers, you will see that certain pieces will be better fits for certain places, and have a greater likelihood of getting your writing accepted for print.
- Increased self-confidence. If you talk a lot about being a writer, but have little to show for it, it’s quite likely that you will face kickback from friends, family, co-workers, and other parties with which you associate. By producing a large quantity of work of higher quality and perhaps with a few publishing credentials to your name, you will feel confident that you ARE a writer, not simply someone who wants to be a writer.
So, how should you set up your writing schedule? That depends on you. Do you have a job? A family? Major health issues? Pressing social engagements? If you’re quite busy, even setting up three days a week where you write for 45 minutes can be effective. If you have a bit more time in your schedule, perhaps an hour every day would work. If you find yourself in difficult circumstances such as unemployment, or have the privilege of success in other affairs and thus a lot of leisure time, then why not treat writing like a 9-5 job, with an hour break for lunch. You can even combine the schedules, with your weekends on a 9-5 schedule, and an hour after dinner every weeknight.
The consistency of a writing schedule will pay many dividends. It will provide you with the discipline necessary to produce more writing, better writing, a higher likelihood of getting published, and increased self-confidence. As a writer, you owe it to yourself to develop the discipline necessary to be your best.
p.s. I strive to present all the tools necessary for writers to dramatically improve their craft and chances of publishing through my blog posts, free Q&A service, and free fiction writing 101 course. However, if you require more personal attention, please consider my editing and/or publishing consultancy services.