I write almost every day. 90% of that is usually crap, as evidenced by Sturgeon’s Law, and more often than not its not fiction. If I stretched this writing pattern out over the next five years, I may sporadically finish the odd short story or blog post or chapter of novel, but…I wont be professional. I came across a listener comment on an episode of the Writing Excuses podcast. The commenter posted these words on being professional:
If I’m going to be a professional, then I need to act professionally.
So what does it mean to be professional? Obviously, getting published would be a strong vote of confidence in that direction, but while I’m at the struggling unpublished writer phase, I think the most important thing I can do right now is to build habits to cultivate discipline so I can increase my chances of going pro one day.
I thought about this topic recently when I decided whether I wanted to take lessons in Indian Classical Music. I’m already taking piano and tae kwon do, each with their own demands on time; learning another instrument would only serve to take away from what little time I have left for writing. I’ll also be starting my CA articling in January, which will keep me busy full-time. Between that and everything else, I’m going to make time every day to start and finish my fiction projects.
My plan is to meet a monthly deadline and enter a story every quarter into the Writers of the Future contest. And I’ll post my progress here to keep things honest and commit myself to these goals.
Thanks to Tobias Buckell, whose post on Habits was the initial inspiration for this post.