If you’re not in a place in your career -- yet -- where you’re making a living solely as a writer, chances are you’ve got some kind of jobby-job to help make ends meet. And that jobby-job comes with a list of dedicated tasks and assignments that you complete during agreed-upon work hours with your employer.
You don’t clock in for the job that pays your bills only when you’re inspired to do so. You have an agreement with your employer and expectations to be upheld.
If you have that level of respect for the job that pays your bills -- even if it’s not the job that fulfills you creatively -- the question is:
Why wouldn’t you have that same level of respect for your writing practice?
Let me say that again for the people in the back:
WHY WOULDN’T YOU HAVE THAT SAME LEVEL OF RESPECT FOR YOUR WRITING PRACTICE?
(Okay, I’ll stop yelling now.)
But it’s true...
Writing is a practice. As with nearly every endeavor we undertake, we never start out as good as we can be. Skill takes time... and patience... and practice.
And yet so many writers (especially fledgling writers) will put off the thing they say they love to do -- the thing they say they want to make a living doing -- because they’re not feeling “inspired.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger surely had days he wasn’t “inspired” to lift weights, but he did. And he became The Terminator.
Writers who are serious about writing do it every day. They write!
Whether they write one page or ten, they show up for their practice every day. They know that some days will be easier than others. They may make tremendous progress on a script one day and only get a few sentences out the next. The important thing is that they keep showing up. They have an agreement with themselves. They schedule their writing time and they commit to it like they would commit to any other job.
If you’re committed to writing as a career, start by creating a schedule for your writing time. Even if it’s only thirty minutes a day to start, the more regularly you show up for yourself as a writer, the easier it will become. Thirty minutes will fly by, and before you know it, you’ll be scheduling an hour, two hours, or more to devote to daily writing.
Not sure where to start? Find yourself some writing prompts. Maybe you need a writers group to help with external accountability. (How about both? Let Film Launch support you with our 30scripts in 30days challenge!)
We all want to be great at what we do. But no one starts out that way! How do we get there? Practice. One foot in front of the other.
“Discipline” doesn’t sound as sexy as “inspiration,” but you can definitely hack inspiration with discipline.
Or, as W. Somerset Maugham famously wrote, “I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.”
What steps will you take to approach your writing as a practice? Have you scheduled your writing time for the week? Let us know!
Joanna Bowzer is a growth marketing and audience development strategist as well as a film and content producer. She is a founder of Film Launch, which supports content entrepreneurs in developing and launching their projects.