“I’ll do it tomorrow.”
How many times have we heard that statement, or a similar one? I’ve said it before, so I plead guilty. However, if we expect to succeed as a professional writer, we can’t afford “to do it tomorrow.” We must write. And we must do it today, not tomorrow, because when tomorrow comes we’ll likely repeat that same mantra. Hard study and work, these are the keys to making it as a writer.
In fact, so important is hard work that the Bible’s Book of Wisdom (aka Proverbs) repeats the need for diligence twice:“[Yet] a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man” (Proverbs 6:10-11, KJV). In Proverbs 24:33-34, we read these exact same words.
As writers, then, let’s not be lazy. Let’s not procrastinate. The only way we’ll sell our articles and stories and books is to write them, then submit them to agents and publishers. Here are a few of my thoughts on the subject.
1. DON’T BE INTIMIDATED BY FAILURE. See it as something positive. Often the best way to learn and grow is through failure, for it is through failure that we discover mistakes and learn how to correct them. These lessons learned can then be applied to our manuscripts. Failure is not failure unless we allow it to be. Use it as a learning experience.
2. HAVE PASSION. Without passion, nothing ever gets done, or if it does, it’s not done well. I see three ways to address this issue. (a) Start writing anyway, and see if passion begins driving us. Sometimes it will. (b) Ask the Lord to put a passion within us if writing is His will. (3) Quit writing. If passion never comes, there’s no sense in trying to write professionally. Writing requires lots of time, lots of sacrifice, and lots of mental “elbow grease.” Those without passion are those who procrastinate.
3. NEVER SAY “I’M NOT GOOD ENOUGH.” Only literary geniuses write professionally “overnight.” For most of us, learning to write professionally takes a long time. The only way we’ll get good enough is to write every day. Once we understand this, we’ll be less likely to procrastinate.
4. DON’T GET INTIMIDATED. If a big writing project looks overwhelming, don’t get intimidated. Tackle it! How? A little at a time. Write a certain amount each day – a certain number of words, a certain number of pages, a certain number of chapters – whatever works. Eventually, the project will reach its end. If a deadline is involved, figure out how much can be done each day to reach the deadline, then write accordingly.
Don’t put things off, friends. Tap those laptop keys. Till next week!