From Inspiration to Self-discipline

Do you find yourself inspired to start a project only to find that you lose energy and don’t want to pursue the same project even a few weeks after you started it? Do you start all guns blazing only to crash in terms of your motivational energy to complete the project?

If you answered the above questions in the affirmative, believe me you’re not alone. It seems that inspiration is not enough for us to complete our projects. Yet, inspiration is certainly enough for us start a project. But over time, our inspiration for a project will turn flat and begin to dwindle down and our energies plummet. That is when we will be tempted to quit this project and start another one.

What is worse, it is quite possible for us to never get back to that project, further complicating whether or not we will complete our writing projects. Obviously, if we don’t complete the writing projects that we start on a consistent basis, we won’t be productive or successful. And this, in turn, will cripple our self-confidence as writers, and make us feel as if we can’t complete any manuscripts.

But this need not be the case if we realize that, although inspiration is necessary to start a project, we need more than inspiration to actually stick to a project through all the ups and downs to the point where we are successful in completing the project. What we need is the self-discipline to complete our projects. If we have self-discipline and inspiration, then we will successfully work on our projects until completion.

So, what we need to stick to a project long-term is more than the fleeting feeling or emotion that is associated with the initial high that we receive when we get a new idea to write about. We need to make a commitment to the project and to have the self-discipline to slog through all the hard times—and yes, there will be quite a few such times. They are what one of my writer friends call test markers. A test marker is something that tempts you to quit or abandon your project because everything seems to be going wrong for you. Not only that, but your initial motivations probably died by now and you are merely going through the motions. So, it is much easier to simply quit. But notice that this temptation to quit is usually based on a feeling that is fleeting and temporary. If you just stand back for a few days and not quit, you will probably carry on quite well and complete the project.

As we all know, quitting is not conducive to success as a writer. And if you get into the habit of quitting many of the writing projects you start, you will be frustrated and unsuccessful. So, it is important to develop the self-discipline that will take your projects from inspiration to completion.

When you have self-discipline as a writer, you won’t be tempted to quit, even when everything is going wrong, because you will have a long-term plan in place for completing this project and you have committed to it. Self-discipline is not based on a feeling but it is based on a long-term attitude of commitment towards working hard to complete what you started, regardless what you feel at the moment.

So, try to develop self-discipline as a writer so that you could finish writing projects that you start. Not only will this build your self-confidence as a writer, but you will also be successful. And your inspiration along with self-discipline will help you to be the most successful writer that you are capable of becoming.

Commitment Versus Self-Discipline

It’s not easy to become committed to writing projects by developing self-discipline and to move past the initial inspiration that motivated them to start a project. It requires more than being excited about pursuing a project. It involves making a decision to see a project through to completion, regardless of the obstacles that get in the way.

Commitment and self-discipline are crucial to reaching your writing goals and becoming a self-discipline writer. Commitments become apparent when something is gut-level important. Our commitments can pave a path to success as time goes on. Ideally, commitment involves a decision to start and complete a writing project.

In addition, commitment is a self-disciplined decision or choice to pursue a particular writing project. Writers need more than motivation to be successful with their writing projects. Here are a few steps to commit to writing goals. None of them merely require motivation to write.

1. View writing commitments as important and not just a nice thing to do. Writing commitments should advance our writing careers. If they don’t we shouldn’t commit to them.

2. Carefully reflect before committing to a writing project. Many writers commit to the wrong things. This can be frustrating and result in a lack of success. The writing goals we commit to must be instrumental to our long-term success. Don’t just set goals and then hope for the best. Assess the goals before committing to them.

3. Always try to keep learning and researching as much as we can about the topic to be written about. It takes a lot of research to write a good quality book or article. Researching can also help commit to a project.

4. Plan for success. Success doesn’t just happen. It takes a lot of hard work. Each step taken can lead to success, one small step at a time. We just have to plan our steps and bring them about one day at a time.

As we can see, self-discipline ensures the completion of writing goals from the most important to the least important. Self-discipline stops short-term projects from taking top priority in our writing lives. We must focus on longer projects to be successful writers.

Irene S. Roth

The Benefits of Writing in Flow

0__IMG_6135[1]There are many benefits to writing with flow. Here are some of them:

1. When you’re writing in Flow, you feel empowered by the task at hand.
To feel empowered, your writing project has to be “just right”. For instance, the writing project can’t be either too easy or too difficult. Otherwise, you won’t be able to write in Flow. If your writing task is too easy, you’ll get bored and eventually stop. If the writing project is too difficult, you’ll get frustrated and eventually stop. Either way, you won’t be writing in Flow.

2. When you’re writing in Flow, you will have the ability to concentrate on what is very important.
If there are too many interruptions or it’s too noisy, you won’t be able to concentrate on your task. Or, if you’re upset about something, again, you will never be able to write in Flow. If you can’t have concentration, you can’t have Flow.

3. When you’re writing in Flow, you’ll have clear writing goals that you need to achieve.
Goals establish a mechanism to measure your progress and provide a sense of achievement. People in Flow usually continue to achieve their writing goals without too much difficulty. They can do that almost effortlessly.

4. You must receive immediate feedback on whether or not you have achieved your goal.
Many of us work around our goals but not on our ACTUAL goals. That is where the problem comes in. We must work on our goals in order for us to be successful. Then you’ll know immediately if your goal was reached or not.

5. When you’re writing in Flow, your worries and frustrations will recede into the background.
You know you’re not writing in Flow if your worries keep harassing you as you write. This perhaps is one of the greatest benefits of writing in Flow. You’re busy concentrating on your task and the rest of your world just “goes away” for a short while. Even though you’re challenged, you end up relaxed, satisfied and you achieved something meaningful. There is absolutely no better way to write that I know.

6. When you write in Flow, your sense of self and especially ego disappears while you’re writing so intensely.
There is nothing more relaxing and powerful than writing in Flow. Your self tends to fade into the background. However, when your self reappears, you’re refreshed with an even stronger sense of self. You also feel good about the fact that you accomplished your goals.

7. You have a sense of control over your actions while performing your task.
There is nothing that will help you to feel more in control than you’re writing in the state of Flow. You will feel so in control and so content after you have down your writing when you write in Flow. And your writing will take you to places that you never thought possible.
8. When you write in Flow, you lose track of time and feel great when you’re done with your task.
One of the chief ways that I know that I’m in flow when writing is that I don’t keep checking on the time. If I do keep looking at the clock to see how much time I have put in on my writing, I know I’m not in flow but just trying to mechanically get the writing done.

So what are you waiting for?  Make sure that you write in flow too….

Irene S. Roth

Writing in a State of Flow

Have you ever been so engaged in an activity that you lost track of time or even your surroundings? A bomb could have gone off and you wouldn’t have noticed anything except the task at hand? Wouldn’t it be nice to write this way during your allotted time?
That’s called “flow” – a state of consciousness where we experience a task so deeply that it truly becomes enjoyable and satisfying. For me this usually happens while I’m reading or writing. For you, it could happen during any number of tasks — golfing, cooking, hiking, etc., or any other enthralling activity.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is the architect of Flow. After many decades of researching the characteristics of the “optimal experience” he wrote Flow: The Psychology of the Optimal Experience. A guide that shows us how to add more meaning in our lives by increasing the time we spend in Flow.
Before I discuss the benefits of writing with flow, I want to define how flow can be achieved.
Flow can be achieved by anyone doing any task that we are doing, as long as the conditions are right. I usually get into a state of Flow while writing. I just get into the zone and after a few minutes, I really get into my work and I’m completely oblivious of my surroundings.
I write very fast and keep writing that way for many hours. Other times, I type very slowly and the words don’t come easily. But, either way, I’m in a state of Flow.
How to Bring About Flow in Writing?

 

Flow occurs when:

• You’re activity has clear goals and gives you some sort of feedback;

• You have the sense that your personal skills are well suited to the challenges of the activity, giving you a sense of potential control;

• You are intensely focused on what you’re doing;

• You lose awareness of yourself, perhaps feel part of something larger;

• Your sense of time is altered, with time seeming to slow, stop or become irrelevant; and

• The experience becomes self-rewarding in itself.

There are four main ways to bring about flow in writing:

1. You should have a reason to write

Writers write because they want to.

You have to feel motivated to write to get fully absorbed in writing, if flow is to follow.

People may write for many different reasons.

Some writers write to get published,
get approval,
make money,
become famous,
change the world,
or catharsis,
to relieve pressure,
because it feels good,
and so on.

None of these things can bring about flow because they are extrinsic motivators–that is they are motivators that are outside of the individual writer.

So, let me quickly explain what an extrinsic motivator is in more detail.

An extrinsic motivator is a motivator that is generated from the outside. So, it can be a motivator that is generated by others or by other things that are mostly outside of your control.

If you want to learn how to write in flow, you have to become more intrinsically motivated to write.

So, here are a few examples of intrinsic motivators:

• You want to write on a particular topic;
• You want to learn more about a topic;
• You have experience in an area and you want to share it with others;
• You want to write a manuscript because you love writing;
• You want to write a manuscript because of how good you feel and whole when you write;
• You want to write a manuscript because the project is inspiring and pulling you in and not because you feel like you have to or because something outside of you is pushing you to write the book.

At these times, you’re not focused on your ego, you’re may feel freer to take creative risks leading to novel solutions and insights because the risks don’t carry any liability to your ego. In other words, you’ve got nothing to lose one way or the other.

The optimal conditions for creativity and thus for flow include a condition of psychological safety from external evaluation. When you feel your efforts are going to be judged, you quickly lose the ability to marshal all your mental and emotional resources in the quest for a new way to express yourself.

So, to write in flow, you should focus on creating intrinsic motivators for your projects.

2. The second way to bring about flow in writing is that You should think like a writer

How you think is a part of your personality.

Your attitudes are under your control. You have to let go and focus.

You should work on becoming more absorbed in your writing, if it matters enough to you.

You have to learn the skills that go into being a more resilient person, and eventually these skills will translate into having greater confidence in yourself as a writer.

Once you move these attitudes in the direction of thinking as a writer you will be taking steps to write in flow.

Therefore, there is a connection between a writer’s personality and the way she experiences flow. A writer’s values also come into play.

What you believe about the rightness of the time you spend writing also impacts flow. Some writers see writing as an expression of the highest humanity and others are troubled by the niggling feeling that taking too much time for their writing is slightly selfish because it’s like stealing time from their family.

If you identify with that second attitude–that is the attitude that you are being selfish when you write, you might find it much more difficult to let go and focus fully when you sit down to write.

You have to be open to experience flow.

Flow occurs when you allow yourself to consider all possibilities rather than shutting any out automatically. It’s a combination of being curious, sensitive to what’s going on in the world around you, and having a certain liberal attitude about life.

Openness moderates the relation between creative ability and creative accomplishments. It’s this openness to experience then that provides you with the impetus to explore avenues and to pursue a career like writing.

You also should not be afraid to take risks in order to write in flow.

Taking risks can be especially challenging to those writers who can’t bear to give up control. If your desire for control is higher than average, you’ll naturally have a tendency to try to structure your world so as to avoid uncontrollable situations and the stress they cause you.

You have to be fully absorbed in order to write.

You are fully absorbed when you are immersed deeply in some activity as to be impervious to distractions and to have an altered sense of yourself and reality. Absorption reflects the degree of your tendency to become deeply engaged in what you are doing.

3. The third way to bring about flow in writing is that You should loosen up

When you loosen up you get involved in the writing itself. This allows you to put aside thoughts about your long and short-term writing goals and your attitudes, and find a way to get fully involved in the writing that you are doing.

Most writers use certain routines and rituals that seem to ease their entry into flow. It’s hard to know whether all of these rituals and routines are crucial in order to be able to write easily and well.

By the habitual nature of these routines, you can make the shift into an alternative consciousness and contribute to your creative process. Such habits may also cause biological changes, just as certain sights, sounds, and odors signal the start of an altered state of consciousness.

This can help writers to access a wide variety of original ideas. You can leap from one idea to the next, and do it freely.

So, what are some ways to loosen up?

Here are a few:

1. Do a Meditation exercise

Before you sit down to write, do a centering exercise. Set an egg timer for 5 minutes.

Then sit down, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths.

Focus on a pleasant image, such as a waterfall or a rainbow.

Breathe deeply for a few minutes.

When the timer beeps, take a few deep breaths and then open your eyes.

Then start writing.

I do this exercise every morning before I get to my writing and I find that it helps tremendously.

2. Light a candle

3. Have a picture on your wall that takes you to a quiet and serene place

I have a big picture of a sunset off the Avon River above my computer. That takes me to a calm place, and I find that I could get into the zone that way.

Experiment with different things and see what works for you.

4. The fourth way to write with flow is to focus-in

The process of focusing in is one of placing your attention to the work, is another precursor to getting into flow. Your whole mind has to get involved in the job of writing with not a bit of mental energy left over to wander here and there. Only when your attention is fully focused on the task can you try to accomplish flow.

It is possible to learn to concentrate better even if it doesn’t come to you naturally.

Here are a few ways to build your attention muscles.

1. Through meditation

When you meditate you bring your attention back again to a word or phrase or your breathing, no matter how many times your attention wanders off.

2. By planning what you will do the night before

I try to spend a half an hour or so the night before planning what I will work on the next day. I find that this helps me to focus more.

3. Setting a timer and working fully during that time frame can really help a lot. I usually set my timer for an hour. During that hour, I make sure that I do NOTHING BUT WRITE. This can help to focus too.

4. When you sit down to write, do nothing but write. Don’t answer the phone, check email or do anything. Just write.

This can be difficult to do at first. But with practise, you can really focus better if you try to do so day by day for a few weeks.

~ Irene S. Roth

Are Your Ready to Write a Book in a Month?

writers[1]In April I usually start a new novel or nonfiction book that I have planned for a few weeks and I write as much of it as possible during April. I usually plan for no more than 1,000 words a day. If I do more…bonus!  If I don’t, that’s okay. What I don’t get completed in April, I complete in the first few weeks of May. But by May 30th I have a first draft of a novel or nonfiction book!

So, here are a few things that I have learned over the past ten years to make writing your fast draft the most successful.

  • Determine what YOUR goals are for the month. Make sure that this is something that YOU want to do and not something you think you should do because all your writer friends are doing.
  • Plan your book ahead of time so that you could sit down and merely write in April.
  • Brainstorm, brainstorm, brainstorm. The more ideas you have, the easier it will be to write quickly. Jot down ideas whenever and wherever they come to you.
  • Enjoy the process—rekindle what you LOVE about writing and then plug into that energy.
  • At the end of every week, regroup and evaluate how you are doing. This will help you to keep what’s most important at the forefront.
  • Work on at least one other project during the month. I usually try and work on another personal fulfillment project and that helps me to reconnect to the excitement and creativity that you need to do your best writing.
  • Write YOUR story. The idea for one of my novels sprung from feelings I still carry around about losing my best friend when I was a teen. While the situation in my book is much different than my own teen trauma, I had strong feelings when I wrote the book about the confusion during the loss of someone close. I don’t think anyone else in the world can write the story you have passionate feelings about writing. Dig deep, and don’t stop looking until you discover what that story is.
  •  Use visual or audible cues. Once you have a story idea and a few characters in mind, gather some visual and audible props to help you discover more about them. Look through Google Images to find pictures (or draw them yourself) of your characters and setting. Add these to your computer desktop, or print them out to display in your office. Make a playlist of songs to go with your new book before you even write it. Music can be very motivating—just look at how many people have ear buds in at the gym! Having visual and audible cues will help keep your story fresh in your head when your motivation to write is sluggish.
  •  Set measurable goals to finish. You don’t have to set a precise word-count goal, if that feel too inorganic to your writing process, but set a goal that you can measure, and make your overall goal for the completion of your book. Set yourself up for a chapter a day, or a scene per day, or 2,000 words per day—whatever you like. But make sure however many days you have will tally up to a finished product.
  • Pull it all together. Once you have a lot of ideas with visual and audible cues, a measurable goal, and a passion for the story you want to write, give yourself a plan for that story. Make sure all of your relevant ideas are written down in one place and set in an approximate order.
  •  Set Daily writing goals and stick with them. And this is the holy grail of fast drafting rules: Make a daily writing goal and do everything you can to meet it. Your daily writing goal will likely be 1,667 words (assuming you plan to write every day). If you have Scrivener, you can set a goal and time frame and every day it’ll recalculate the words you need to write to complete your goal. If you don’t have Scrivener and you miss a day, don’t fret—just re-calculate your daily writing goal and keep writing.

Other Tips to Write your Fast Draft Which Work GREAT!

Speed tip #1: Lose grammar

Don’t bother putting together well-constructed sentences. Just string words together to create content, and worry about form later on.

Speed tip #2: Don’t look back

The best way to tangle yourself up with completely unimportant decisions for hours on end, is to edit your text while you’re writing it. If you want to write a lightning-speed first draft, you’ll have to just keep on writing. Imagine the arrow keys on your keyboard, as well as the [Backspace] and [delete] buttons, have been rigged to explode on touch. Don’t set them off!

Speed tip #3: Use short sentences

Crafting a long, elaborate paragraph that strings together several ideas into a single long and winding sentence, can be confusing and vague not just for the writer but also for the poor reader. Don’t you agree?

Speed tip #4: Use bullets

Bullets are great for speed-writing. They allow you to toss in disjointed thoughts at random order, and worry about arranging and connecting them later on.

Speed tip #5: Use simple words

Forget your arsenal of fancy vocabulary. Later on you can furnish language, searching for just the right word for the particular undertone you wish to convey. For your speed draft, just use plain language. Remember that the first draft should be all about broad strokes, not subtle ornamentation.

Speed tip #6: Use abbreviations, acronyms and codes

Get used to writing abbreviations (like ‘sth’ for ‘something’ or ‘vid’ for video) and acronyms (like like CW for ‘CreativityWise’). Even if you type really fast, this habit will speed you up considerably. It will also help you avoid fancy language in your drafts.

Speed tip #7: Turn off your phone, unplug your internet

For some of you, this is surely the most impractical and annoying advice. What if something important happens and I’m not reachable to respond?

Do remember that the whole point is to be working FAST – so all we’re talking about here is 20-30 minutes of unplugged quietness. Can you not unplug for just 20 minutes? I think you can. Challenge yourself to get used to that. It really makes a huge difference in your ability to focus.

Speed tip #8: Go to the bathroom before you begin

Sorry if this sounds too silly, but when nature calls it’s no less distracting than when your mother-in-law calls; and unlike your mom in law, you can’t ignore the call or say “I’ll get back to you later, sorry”. If the secret of fast draft writing is focus and flow, then not even your own body should be allowed to interrupt.

Speed tip #9: Use a simple editor

Here’s a surprising piece of truth: word processors are really awful writing tools. They are excellent, amazing, phenomenal tools for editing; but they suck for writing, because they’re just mind-bogglingly distracting! They offer way too many options for stuff that isn’t purely writing: choosing fonts, designing headlines, finding synonyms, fixing grammar and spelling mistakes in one click (that’s one too many clicks!) and so on.

One of the best writing tools is good old pen and paper. It also helps you avoid too much editing, making it physically difficult to do. If you’re happy with writing by hand, this should probably be your weapon of choice.

If you prefer typing (like I do), there are quite a few great writing programs that offer liberating simplicity. I use the Q10 writer, which you can download for free. If you’re using an iPad, try the iA Writer. It is available here…https://ia.net/writer/ios/

Speed tip #10: Write in a series of short bursts

If you’re anything like me, a countdown clock starting with as little as 15 minutes will get you going like a demon. (Q10 actually has an internal countdown clock for exactly that reason). So light up that fire in your eyes, and start typing! You’ll be amazed how far you can get with a 15 to 30 minutes countdown. Here’s an online 15 minutes counter you can use straight away. Try it!

http://www.online-stopwatch.com/timer/15minute/?utm_content=bufferd4cbc&utm_source=buffer&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Buffer

By taking these steps, you will be connecting to that center within yourself that propelled you to start writing in the first place—your writer’s soul. Don’t ever forget it otherwise you will get lost in distractions and sooner or later you won’t be able to acknowledge the real reason why you started writing in the first place.

And remember…. DISCIPLINE IS JUST CHOOSING BETWEEN WHAT YOU NOW AND WHAT YOU WANT MOST.

So, join me on this blog in April, and I will be sharing with you how to write your lightning draft.  Follow along, and you too can have a book written in April.

Let us know if you are on aboard!

Until next time!

Irene S. Roth

 

 

Meet Mel Ryane

MelRyane_lg1. Tell us a few things about yourself.

Someone asked me recently what I wanted to be when I grew up and I answered, “To be heard.” I think this is true of artists. Whatever the artistic discipline, there is always a story, and that story always needs an audience. As a child I wanted to be dancer but after failing a ballet exam, I discovered acting. I had my first professional acting job at age 18. I chased my acting career from city to city, Canada to the U.S., and finally settled in Los Angeles, where I eventually moved into writing. Always, always wanting to be heard.

2. What’s your favorite book?

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.

3. Who is your favorite author?

So difficult to pick just one. In fact, so impossible that I will pick more than one. Marilynne Robinson, Anne Tyler, Laura Hillenbrand, Joan Didion…okay, I’ll stop, but I could go on.

TeachingWill4. What inspired you to want to write your book?

My book is a memoir, with the story about the pain of leaving my acting career entwined with the story of my volunteering to start a Shakespeare Club at an public elementary school. At a writing conference, a fellow writer asked me about my work with the kids. I discovered in the telling there was a story to be told, so I came home and wrote the book.

5. Tell us a bit about your current writing projects.

I’ve completed two novels. Nobody’s Dolly begins with a young woman’s choice to escape an arranged marriage, and her 14-year-old sister being forced to take her place at the altar. The story covers how that initial act influences generations over the course of eighty years.

The second book, The Novel Class, is set in contemporary Los Angeles during the recent recession. When an upper-middle-class widow discovers her nest egg doesn’t exist, she’s forced from her perch into a journey of survival.

6. Do you have more books in the works? Tell us a bit about them.

My brain is always churning up new stories, but it’s too soon to say more than that.

7. What can readers expect to get from this book?

I hope what readers get from Teaching Will: What Shakespeare and 10 Kids Gave Me That Hollywood Couldn’t, is a chance to laugh and an opportunity to identify with the very real circumstances of dissipated dreams. We have a romantic notion in this country that we can get whatever we want if we just work hard enough or dream big enough. This is simply not true for most. So what to do? I hope this book inspires readers to consider widening their road, looking past what hasn’t happened, accepting those disappointments, and creating anew.

8. Any tips for aspiring writers?

Start. Just begin. A thousand words a day. Revise, revise, revise. Get your butt in the seat and start.

9. Any last words?

I’d like to address the idea of the artist having something to say and wanting to be heard. That impulse, that passion, that need, is as undeniable and necessary as food or air. It has never been an easy gig to produce art and wait for an audience. Publishing took a big hit in the recession and has been turned upside down as consumers have never had so many opportunities for entertainment, with so little time. This is also the case with music, dance, theatre, you name it. And yet if you are an artist, you have to do it anyway. On days when I hear from a reader that my book kept them up reading, I am thrilled. And on other days when I have to weather rejections, I am disheartened. Still I know that I have to do it anyway.

Thank you for visiting me on my blog today!  I am sure that my readers would love to learn more about you. So, here is where you could get in touch with her through her websites and social media sites.

Twitter: @melryane

 

 

Is Writing Part of Your Identity?

According to Deb Caletti, writing is not just a job it is who we are. It is our identity…..

I truly believe this is true. I believe that writers have to treat their writing very seriously first and consider it as a job in order for it to become a part of their identity.

Here are a few things that Deb’s statements mean to me….

• That writing is something that defines us;
• That writing is an activity that brings us joy;
• That writing is an activity that we cannot live without;
• That writing fulfills us;
• That writing inspires us;
• That writing helps us to grow and become more who we are;
• That writing is one of the most wonderful things that you can do;
• That writing is part of the fabric of our being;
• That writing is what and who we are…it is something that we cannot do without…and it is very similar to the high that we get when we run or jog.

What does Deb’s statement mean to you….

Irene S. Roth

Writers Who Consider Writing a Job

Many writers write as a hobby. They may be working full-time or full-time mothers or fathers having a hard time writing more than a couple of hours a week. And for many writers, time is really at a premium. They can’t afford to write more than a few hours a week because of all of their other commitments.

If you are one of these writers, take note. First of all, I feel for you. For many years, I had a full-time job and tried to get some writing done in between times. I always DID do my writing, despite the fact that I taught 3 to 4 university courses per semester with sometimes upwards of 500 students all together and had to take workshops and courses as I was trying to complete my post-graduate degrees in Philosophy and Psychology. But here is the thing: I NEVER treated my writing as a hobby, even when I couldn’t devote 20 hours a week to my writing. I just always worked writing into my schedule, regardless of how packed it was. This requires a shift in attitude from passive, uncommitted to active and serious.

What I am trying to get at is that when you treat your writing as a hobby, you are setting yourself up for a lack of productivity. Also, you won’t be taking your writing seriously either. But if you treat it as a part-time job, for instance, you’ll be much more equipped to actually get to your desk and do some writing, even if it is only an hour or so a few times a week. The difference is in how seriously you take your writing. The bottom line is that if you treat your writing like a hobby, you don’t think that your writing is a serious venture in your life. However, if you treat your writing as a job, just like any job and important commitment that you have, you will take it VERY seriously.

So, the choice is yours.

Here are a few ways to determine if you are treating your writing as a hobby:

1. You don’t reinforce your writing time with your family by scheduling it and then showing up to write. Instead, you write in a very unpredictable manner. Sometimes you follow your schedule, but most times you don’t.

2. You feel torn between your writing and your duties to others. If something more important comes up, your writing is gone out the window. Then you feel guilty about it.

3. You don’t take your writing very seriously. You don’t wholeheartedly commit to your writing projects and complete them.

If you can relate to any of these points, you probably consider yourself to be a hobby writer. If you do, take heart. Try and decide if you want to take your writing to the next level. If you do, you must commit to your writing. Only you can do this, and when you do, your family will know that you are serious.

Treating Your Writing as a Job

Most non-writers don’t know the kind of time commitment that any writer has to make in order to be a successful writer. Most of you need to spend a lot of time writing and researching. This is all part of the job of writing. And writing, just as any job, is something that you have to take seriously in order to be successful.

Here are a few ways to make sure that you treat your writing as a job:

1. Show up and write when you schedule yourself to write. Don’t allow anything else to come in the way. When you’re going to work, do you allow other things, except emergencies, to come in the way for showing up at work? Probably not, and if you did, you would get fired. So, take your writing seriously.

2. Do your allotted amount of writing scheduled. So, if you sit down to write and you plan to write a half a chapter, make sure you complete it. This will give you the confidence that you need to be successful, and you will start trusting yourself more when you sit down to write.

3. Have your short-term and long-term goals very clearly displaced as you write so that you know how you are doing on each of them before and after each session. Take stock often, and make sure that you are progressing at the pace you planned initially.

4. Take stock often and re-evaluate your progress. If you are not completing your short-term or long-term writing goals as planned, perhaps you planned to do too little or far too much. See where the problems are and recreate your writing goals. This will help you to be successful in the present and future.

By taking these steps, you will be ensuring that you treat your writing as a job. Writers who treat their writing like a hobby don’t do much and don’t make the kinds of commitments that they need in order to be successful in their careers. So, make the commitment to your writing projects, and show up to write, and you will be surprised by how much you get done.

So, can you take steps to treat your writing as a job?

~ Irene S. Roth