After almost three years of working on my current trilogy, The Lost Skills, I’ve come to the conclusion everyone should, in their lifetime, write a book. There is so much I have learned from just plopping down at my computer and writing that I feel everyone could benefit from the endeavor. My reason? To learn the art of discipline.
Today people have no attention span, no determination, no commitment, no “I’m going to stick with this until the bitter end no matter what.” They have no grit (if you’ve never watched the absolutely wonderful Ted Talk by Angela Lee Duckworth, you are missing out.) I actually encountered someone in one of my writing groups who flat out told me I should not be writing a book because I said I needed discipline and commitment while writing.
I don’t know about everyone else, but after a long day’s work, it takes a lot of discipline to sit down at my computer and work on a series I’ve been working on for years. There have been times I’ve wanted to give up because I lost faith in the process, or just thought no one would like it, or countless other doubts that pop into an author’s head. I’ve battled against dropping the project to chase after some shiny new project idea because I don’t want to be someone who never finishes a project. There are many people who just start projects and don’t commit to them. I’m guilty of a few projects dying off. This is when the faith and love of the project kicks in. It’s the other side which gets you through the hard bits, as well as the mindset of working toward a big goal.
Let’s all be honest here for a second. I love just coming home and watching Netflix when I’ve had a rough day. Who doesn’t? Occasionally I do indulge in this, I won’t lie, but it’s only through a writing habit I’ve developed (with a lot of discipline) that allows me to make progress on my trilogy. I am almost done with all three books, which would never have happened if I wouldn’t have committed to my books. I have finally decided, (under my own feelings of accomplishment), I am going to finish this trilogy and publish it in 2017. I’ve made a goal, and I’ve set a plan in motion.
Anyone who thinks writing a book is going to be easy and will not take determination, has not been on the journey long enough to encounter the moment when self doubt kicks in. This happens to every creative. A painter, an animator, a fine artist, a writer, a craftsman…. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been at it for years, are a professional, or just are starting out. Every single person deals with self doubt. The inner demon, the inner critic, the voice inside your head which makes you feel like complete and total shit. That stage of the project where you’re looking at the mess you’re in and you don’t know how anything good can come from it.
It’s these struggles, I strongly believe everyone needs to experience in their lifetime.
And battle against.
I have never had a more difficult time accomplishing a project than I have while writing a trilogy. I’m a creative at the core, so I’ve had my fair share of short term projects and long term projects. Never have I had to believe in a project for over three years though. I’ve had to battle with my own self doubt, as well as the doubts of others. I’ve had to deal with criticism, both my own, and the opinions of others. I’ve stopped writing for a good chunk of it because someone made me lose the faith and drive I had inside my self.
Please do not let the happen to you, or if it does, take some time to access this part of yourself you’re debating on giving up.
For some reason, I just can’t stop writing this book. I can’t give it up. There’s some inner drive drawing me back to it. Through my experience, this usually means something pretty special.
When I was growing up, I would get super attached to characters in books. They were my friends. I strongly believe it’s from these characters, and lives the led, that I was able to grasp who I was as a person. Who I wanted to be, and how valiant and noble people could be in their actions. And while I will never be able to wield a sword and storm a castle, or head into battle against an enemy who also has reasons for what they’re doing, with writing and storytelling, I am able to do so.
Finally, I’ve given into myself. If this is something so critical to who I am, then I need to tackle this project with the commitment it deserves.
And here’s the point: If there’s some piece of you know is the core of who you are and you’re not disciplined enough to follow it—-you’re letting yourself down. Maybe it’s not writing a book. Maybe it’s creating a film or walking a 1,000 miles. Maybe it’s sitting down every day and drawing one subject a day.
I want everyone to experience what I have while writing a book. All of it. Everything that comes with years of work.
- The moment you first have the idea
- The moment you fail
- The first time you doubt yourself
- The first time someone doubts you
- The time you fought to make it a reality
And most importantly, experiencing the commitment of sticking it to the end, and the discipline needed to act upon it.