Some creatives struggle with discipline. We'd rather let the ideas flow to us organically, and work when we're feeling inspired. If this sounds like you, you'll want to hear these inspiring tips from screenwriter and journalist Bryan Young (SyFy.com, HowStuffWorks.com, StarWars.com). He tells us how he stays focused on writing, and reveals an impressive stat when it comes to the writing promise he's been holding himself to for the past several years.
"My writing discipline, personally, comes from the fact that I write every day no matter what, or I spend time doing something related to my writing every day," Young told us. And experts agree that working a goal into your routine is one of the keys to success. Consider some of the world's top athletes; they're not missing any training sessions because they know that every moment matters. "What I do is I get up every morning, and I head to a coffee shop, and I work for two hours on my writing every morning."
If the ideas just aren't coming, it's not a free pass to skip a day. Young suggests you instead work on something related to your writing. "Sometimes that's in revisions, pitching, querying, writing new material, invoicing, or even just reading material or listening to material that's going to inspire me to do better work."
If you're writing to make a career out of it, know that there are many more people out there who are reaching for the same goal, and they're not taking any breaks.
"I do that every day, Monday through Sunday," Young told us. "I don't take any days off. In fact, as we record this, today is my 1,544th day in a row of not missing any writing. So, for me, it's to do it every day."
Everyone is different, but discipline is integral to reach your goals.
"What you need to do is find what works for you," Young added. "There are a lot of people I know that can’t do the writing every day thing because it burns them out, and that’s totally valid. You just need to try everything you can until you find what works for you.”
Want more help developing discipline? For many people, it’s a learned skill, which means you, too, can train for it!
Success.com outlines these tips:
Set big goals. The bigger the goal, the more invested you become.
Set clear goals. What specific steps will you take to reach your big goal?
Every day counts. Again, you don’t see athletes taking days off, because a day off is an extra day to the competition.
Don’t retreat. Create a plan and stick to it, don’t question it, and don’t back down.
Pressure yourself. Create pressure for yourself, and work hard every single day to achieve your dream, no matter what.
Get into a routine. Create a routine that becomes second nature and part of your day or week. Stick to it until it becomes automatic.
Commit. Start writing and commit to finishing it.
Fight the urge to quit. Your brain will do everything it can to make you question your process and try to convince you to quit. You also have the power to fight those urges.
Overcome feelings. You might feel inconvenienced, irritated, overwhelmed, or lazy, but separate yourself from those feelings and put your goal first.
Find pleasure in hard work. When you finish something difficult, don’t you feel great? Simmer in that feeling, and challenge yourself on every writing process to keep that feeling in sight. Get there faster this time.
Developing discipline is not an easy task, otherwise, we’d all be superstars. But, it is possible with the right mindset, and it could be a make or break for your writing dreams. Don’t wait to get started. Start today!
Rome wasn’t built in a day,