“Discipline is remembering what you want”
April 22, 2007
I would be willing to bet a substantial amount of money that the average freelancer works more hours than most people. Due to the fact that we essentially work for ourselves – and work from home – tends to keep us at it long after our salaried counterparts have left for the day.
This is not a complaint. I could probably take a day off once a week or so without any significant detriment to my work, but I choose not to for several reasons. The main one is that I honestly enjoy it (otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this blog), followed closely by the fear of missing out on a good lead. There are tons of other talented writers out there so the competition is fierce.
Discipline is not only absolutely necessary, it’s what separates the men from the boys, so to speak. Lots of people say “I’ve always loved to write, I wish I had your job” or “it must be nice to set your own hours like that.” Guess what – if you’ve got a little talent and willing to work on your craft, you can. Start writing some sample pieces, maybe create a blog (that’s how I got started), pick up one of the many books on freelance writing (I like Media Bistro’s) and go from there. Don’t quit your day job right away, however. No one dreams of becoming of a writer for the money.
The title of this post comes from my former creative writing professor. A published author many times over, he taught us that the success in our chosen profession was dependent on so much more than sheer talent. The discipline to get up in the morning and sit down at your desk without a boss breathing down your neck, the discipline to meet deadlines at the expense of sleep, and the discipline to simply keep at it through hurdles like writer’s block, obstinate editors, and the piles of unanswered queries/proposals. And it’s the discipline to spend long hours in front of your computer (generating brilliant prose, of course) for little pay and only your cat for company (can you tell I added that last sentence?).
But I remember what my ultimate goals are – “what I want” – and I fire up the laptop and and the espresso machine for what is hopefully another evening of creative genius.