The discipline required to write a book (Part 2)

Yesterday I posted part 1 of this series. I conclude today with part 2. However I will be posting at least another ten blogs on self publishing over the next few weeks, covering subjects such as:

stupid mistakes that make you look unprofessional,
the cover,
the need for an editor, and
marketing advice.

In yesterday’s blog, I mentioned a quote I came across from a writer who observes. “Here’s my theory about the New York Times bestseller list: the most successful writers aren’t the most talented. They’re the most stubborn.” In other words, the most successful writers are not necessarily the best, but the most disciplined.

Here are another six “hints” on the disciplines required to write successfully. My thanks again to an article by Joseph Finder from which much of this material is drawn. You can find the article here.

6. Writing is a job. Treat it like one. Don’t work at home; work from an office. If you don’t have an office, set aside a place that is just for you and your writing. If you treat your writing like work, your family and friends should do the same, and be more respectful of that writing time. No one thinks twice about interrupting a hobby, so make it clear that it’s not a hobby; it’s work. It’s your time.

7. Be ruthless in managing your time. This is the biggest problem most writers have. One suggestion is to use an hourglass for use when you are writing — or the timer on your iPhone.

8. No e-mail, FaceBook, Twitter, Google+ or other social medial! E-mail is truly our modern curse. It interrupts our attention span, fragments our concentration. Quit out of your email programme, your browser and any other social media applications. If you need to use the internet whilst you are writing, consider using another browser with no bookmarks to tempt you (but see hint one yesterday — just write — worry about word choice, grammar, getting facts right and research later!)

9. Set interim goals. A full-length novel can be anywhere from 75,000 to 150,000 words, or even longer. If you think about having to write 75,000 words – 200 pages – you’ll freak yourself out. But if you write 1,000 words a day, you can finish the first draft of a novel in less than three months, even if you take some weekend days off.

10. Work toward a deadline. Everyone needs deadlines.

11. Reward yourself. In The Fine Art of Feedback, I write about the challenges of getting and processing feedback – but while you’re writing, it’s not unusual for your brain to second-guess everything you’re doing. Override this by promising yourself rewards for getting work done. “When I hit 5,000 words, I’m going to the movies,” or even, “When I finish this paragraph, I can have another cup of coffee.” It worked in kindergarten and it will work for you now.