Being a Writer is a lesson in motivation, patience, and determination. Every day, you sit down and attempt to form coherent thoughts that translate into a piece of writing that makes sense, has some value to the reader and will serve the purpose or goal you wish to attain with your writing.
There are days when it feels like your creativity has dried up and everything you write seems to come out wrong. In fact, this post started off this way. As I was writing this, I felt like each word was a struggle. It didn’t come easy, and some days that’s just the way it is. However, once I got into it, the years of training started to bear fruit. It’s like when you start an exercise class, at first you feel like your arms aren’t moving quite the right way and your coordination is off but as you continue on you start to get more in sync, and things begin to become more fluid.
Judy Blume once said, “I’m a terrible writer but a fantastic re-writer,” and that is the gist of it for me. Often the first thing I get down on a page is less than satisfactory, at least to my perfectionist tendencies. I would hazard a guess that most writers are this way. Ernest Hemingway once rewrote the last chapter of one of his books thirty-nine times until he was happy with it. The first draft is always the hardest. There’s nothing there after all. It’s just a blank page. What it takes to get something written is where the lessons come in. Below are some of the lessons I want to share with you today.
Just write – No matter the project or assignment you have on your to-do list at the moment, “just write” translates into many other statements, just do it, take action, one goal at a time, act now, among others. It always requires some type of forward movement. Without that first step, nothing would happen. You can think all you want about everything that you hope to achieve but the advice to, “just write” is about action. Every person needs to do something, to become successful at anything. Psychiatrist and Psychologist, Carl Gustav Jung offers this sentiment, “You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.”
Rewrite – Once you have taken that first step and a draft is created, you need to perfect your work. Good Writers carefully scrutinize every word and phrase and make sure they tell the whole story. This lesson works for other professions too. Let’s say you were a scientist studying the habits of Gorillas. Would you only look at one Gorilla, write down your findings and then call it quits? Of course not! You would continue studying other Gorillas over an extensive period and then compile and publish your results. The art of any passion is in the care you take to “rewrite” or perfect your work. Every detail is essential to the finished product. A simple change here and there can take a finished work from just okay to outstanding.
Don’t give up – You may not be the world’s best Writer after writing one story, one article or one post. In fact, I can assure you that you are not. With anything you do, from Engineering to Tennis, you won’t get better unless you continue to do it. Again, and again and again. Natural talent is out there to be sure, but natural ability can only take you so far. Even the best of the best need to keep practicing and refining and they can’t get there if they give up. When you are a Writer, especially a Freelance Writer, it takes a lot of motivation to keep going. It’s not the lifestyle for someone who needs a good kick in the pants to get motivated. There is no hand holding. No making sure assignments are completed. Sink or swim is an Entrepreneur’s life.
Be patient – This is something I struggle with constantly. Writing my book has been a big lesson in this. I want things to be completed quickly, but a book is a labour of love. It’s not completed quickly. It takes many months to write and rewrite and to go over every detail. In fact, by the time you are finished writing a book, you may be entirely sick of it. The best authors know they need to be patient. This goes for other types of professions as well. When you are an Artist, intricate sculptures or paintings can take an incredibly long time to complete. Patience is the key to success. Samuel Johnson once said, “Great works are not performed by strength but by perseverance.”
Publish it – Scared to publish something because it’s not perfect? Nothing is perfect. We are human, we all make mistakes. I have read many books in which I notice a spelling error or grammatical error and I can assure you that they all employed Editors. Sometimes things get missed, but that shouldn’t stop you from moving forward. If you were a Speaker and during a talk you missed a whole slide when you were presenting would you stop and not continue the talk? No, you would probably keep going. Some of the audience might not even know you made a mistake. Even if there are those that do realize you made a mistake, you can find solace in the fact that, you did it. You completed the project, or article or assignment or whatever the case may be. We can’t let our mistakes define us. We have to, “publish it” and move on and learn from it.
There are many lessons we can learn from Writers. There are also many lessons we can learn from Scuba Divers, Travel Agents, Gardeners and Construction Workers. Each may be slightly different, but the core values of any successful Entrepreneur or Business Owner are the same. Motivation, attention to detail, determination, patience, and a go for broke attitude! Or as I like to think about it, putting all your heart and soul into everything you do. You, “Just write” and then let the world see what you have accomplished.