In anticipation of the end of the year, I'm doing a series of posts regarding the things I've learned this year. Some of them relate to writing, some of them are general life lessons.
You hear this advice more often than you care to, I'm sure. Believe me, so did I. That is, until I actually began to follow it. Once I began to sit down in my chair every day to write in earnest, that is when I finally realized how necessary the daily practice really is.
In the past, I had convinced myself that too much discipline would damage my art. Writing every day would create too much pressure and I would produce subpar work because of the daily need to produce something.
But then I went for a very long time without producing anything at all and I realized that what I needed was, you guessed it: discipline.
I began to write the novel I'm currently working on in June of this year, and after a few months of producing little to nothing but ideas written on scraps of torn-up Post-its, I finally sat down one day and said to myself, "I'm going to write something today." The next day I did it again, and before I knew it I was getting up early each morning to get to work.
Suddenly, instead of having ideas that didn't even take up full post-its, I was having epiphanies that could take up two or three pages at a time. Rather than wondering why I couldn't come up with anything decent to write, I was excited to get to my desk each day, because I had finally learned that showing up is the hard part. Once you're at the desk, ready to work, the ideas come naturally because there is an outlet waiting for them.
It's cliched advice for a reason: it works. Write every day even if it's only a sentence or two and eventually you'll have a book. It really is that simple.