Monday, December 19, 2011

Check Excuses at the Door

If you were a teacher, you'd have to show up to school, lesson plan completed, prepared to teach that sea of young faces. No excuses.

If you were a surgeon, you'd have to show up at the hospital, prepared to heal sick and hurting people. No excuses.

If you were a CEO, you'd have to show up at the board meetings, prepared to lead and advise. No excuses.

But you are a writer. Do you show up every day, regardless of how you feel? No excuses?

The degree of your writing success depends directly upon your acceptance of that responsibility. If you write half days, or every other day, or twice a week, or whatever the sporatic time may be, you divide your chance of success by that amount.

For instance, a career writer works a minimum of forty hours a week. If you work ten hours, due to other obligations, you slow down your progress by 75% and diminish your odds for success by the same.

If you are wishing that you'll "strike it rich" accidentally by your manuscript stumbling into the hands of someone who can catapult it to stardom, dream on. If you market your book a quarter of the time that a full-time writer does, expect to make a quarter of the sales.

Sure, there's a degree of luck in the equation. Just keep in mind that everybody is subject to that same amount of luck. In other words, you get out of writing what you put into it. You get out of marketing what you put into it. Not what someone else puts into it. You.

Writing is a profession, one of the lucky few, in which you have 90 percent control over your success. That's a good thing or a bad thing. . . . depending on how well you embrace the odds.


Sioux Roslawski said...

That is so true, Hope. If you succeed, it's due to your persistence and perserverance. It's to your credit. If you fail, it's on you as well. You're blessed if you do and damned if you don't.

Kelly Robinson said...

I'm always amazed when I hear about famous authors (Asimov, for example) who wrote 9 to 5 every day without fail.

On the one hand, I'm inspired. On the other hand...there's no way!

One of the upsides of freelancing is making your own schedule, so I shy away from a rigorous workday. I guess that's the key, though --making one at all!

Jessica McCann said...

Awesome post, Hope. A nice kick in the buns reminder on a Monday before Christmas, when it's tempting to slack off the writing for other things. This post reminds me of a favorite quote by Thomas Jefferson, "I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it."

Thanks and Merry Christmas!

Unknown said...

Great Hope.
It's all about change.
No one should fear change,if change does not bring good results you can always change again.

Hope Clark said...

Kelly -

Yes, there's a way. You can do it.

Jessica -

Hope I didn't kick TOO hard. And I love Jefferson quotes.

Sioux and Carlos -


Jane Wilkins said...

Well now that puts it all into perspective, doesn't it! As with so many things, I am my own worse enemy. I complain about not having enough time to write, because I have a full time job and household to attend to. We all have the same number of hours in each day. Surely, I can squeeze more writing into each day. I've been slacking! I say I need huge blocks of time and a special environment to make it happen. Yes, that would be nice, but not realistic. What I need, is to make those small periods of time count. I need to make the most of what I have to grow in my writing. I think I just came up with a new resolution for 2012. Stop procrastinating and make the most of what I have. Thank you for the inspiration!