If You're a Writer, Writing IS Your "Real" Job

Regardless of the field you’re in, distractions are an issue to anyone who works independently. Successful writers know that in order to keep producing high-quality, consistent work, they need to apply themselves every day - and not just to writing, but reading as well. If you’re not reading, you’re not going to be a good writer.

Discipline and work are required to make a success of any endeavor, but perhaps nowhere more than as a writer. If you can devote attention to your writing every day, your chances of success are far greater than people who try to squeeze it in between everything else.

Writing has to be your full-time preoccupation if you want to be a writer.

What are the skills needed to stay focused and driven?

Write. That’s it. Seems simple because it is. For some writers however, sitting down without distractions and setting aside a fixed amount of time every single day to work is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome. The second biggest is writers block.

Overcoming these needs to be a priority because once you are able to manage them, writing will come easier. The writing part should be easy. If you put too much effort into following a certain format you may find yourself battling writers block, procrastination, frustration, and scattering your energy daily.

Instead, write whatever comes into your head. Start in the middle of your story. Jump around to different parts whenever they come to you. Don’t worry about starting at go and moving through from start to finish. The story will flesh itself out, and let’s remember.... the first draft is just a draft.

I love this quote from Joshua Wolf Shenk:

“Get through a draft as quickly as possible. Hard to know the shape of the thing until you have a draft. Literally, when I wrote the last page of my first draft of Lincoln’s Melancholy I thought, Oh, shit, now I get the shape of this. But I had wasted years, literally years, writing and re-writing the first third to first half. The old writer’s rule applies: Have the courage to write badly.”

You'll be editing everything you write before it even comes close to being finished anyway. Right? I hope so. You know we’re all only as good a writer as we are an editor in the end.


  • Patricia Capracotta
    Patricia Capracotta lol, well said A.B. Alterations even after paying someone else to do the editing? We're kind of lucky now in the feedback department I think though, you can get feedback from the public at large before you even have the book finished!
    And yes, definitely...  more
    April 11, 2016
  • K. Grivante
    K. Grivante I really enjoyed this. Great advice on how to get through the sometimes daunting task of getting the story out and then seeing whats there to play with.
    November 6, 2016 - 1 likes this
  • Patricia Capracotta
    Patricia Capracotta Thank you K. I've been away for awhile so I'm catching up on old threads. Glad it was helpful.
    March 17, 2017
  • Brandon Banks
    Brandon Banks Very True! I keep a pen and paper nearby where ever I am because I try to keep that consistency.
    October 17, 2017 - 1 likes this