I have a friend who writes sometimes. He’s published very little, partly because he writes very little and partly because it takes him longer to produce something publishable. It’s difficult to write well without practice. It’s difficult to do anything well without practice. He asked me once about my publishing history, and how I continue to publish so often and with apparent ease. I told him it was just that I wrote more often. (And, it’s not at all with ease.)
But there’s more to it than that. It’s practice—steady, daily, yearly, practice. I find that what I really have that some other artists don’t have is discipline. I’ll admit that it’s easy to have discipline if you enjoy what you’re doing as much as I do. And maybe that has as much to do with it as anything. Maybe my friend doesn’t enjoy writing as much as I do. If that’s true, I wonder what he does enjoy and why he isn’t doing that.
Although, having gotten this far, I must say that there are still days I’d rather not write—I mean, every damned day?—but I write anyway. That’s the key, I think. Write anyway, because you’ll write better in the long run. I study writing, I read with a writer’s eye, and I work on my writing—every day. Have I said that enough times yet?
Almost every great artist I can think of had a discipline. Many are not so strict as mine, but it’s there, they have it. I have painter friends who paint every day, a friend who plays guitar at coffee shops and restaurants who practices every day, and glass blowers, actors, all with a discipline.
So, whether it’s my friend or a student or family member who asks how they might work toward being recognized for their art, I usually say that one word. If you have discipline, you’re a lot further along the path of succeeding than without it.
Terry Persun writes in many genres, including historical fiction, mainstream, literary, and science fiction/fantasy. He is a Pushcart nominee. His latest poetry collection is “And Now This”. His novels, “Wolf’s Rite” and “Cathedral of Dreams” were ForeWord magazine Book of the Year finalists in the science fiction category, and his novel “Sweet Song” won a Silver IPPY Award. His latest science fiction space opera is, “Hear No Evil”, his latest fantasy is “Doublesight”, his latest mainstream/literary novel is “Ten Months in Wonderland”.