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Making it with Discipline

Here’s an article I did on motivation, so I thought I’d share it here. I hope you enjoy it!

Making it with Discipline
By Sarah Mäkelä

In the past, I have had a lot of trouble with staying focused and being disciplined when it came to writing. I had thought that writing was something people do when they’re feeling creative and inspired. New York Times Bestsellers probably wrote every day, but they made a living writing. I would write when I thought about it, and I loved writing when I did, but it wasn’t something I would do on a regular basis. I loved my characters and thought about them a lot, and when I did sit down to write, I would think about new ideas that had occurred to me, and start writing out those stories. Needless to say, I now have six partials for novel-length works. Most of those are around twenty thousand words.

I always hear a lot about writer’s block, and my answer is that I don’t believe in writer’s block, so it doesn’t believe in me. Most times when I’m “blocked,” I just need to keep that much more focused on the work and break through it. That doesn’t mean I think there can’t be actual problems going on when a writer is stuck. Always examine where you are stuck and try to figure out why, but then continue on. I know of well-known bestselling authors who write their first draft quickly, and then go back and make sense of the manuscript. Stephen King in his book, On Writing, suggests three months for this process.

Before completing my first manuscript with the help of National Novel Writing Month, I didn’t understand that. Why would I want to hurry through such an important step? With National Novel Writing Month, you have to turn off your internal editor and lock her in the closet. If you don’t, you simply won’t be able to write fifty thousand words in one month.

I think sometimes writers get bogged down with making everything perfect on the first time through, but if the first draft doesn’t get done with the diligence of sitting down to write every day, then you won’t make it to the second draft. Now with my first book coming out April 1st, and my second book ninety-one percent written, I recognize that a person needs to have discipline when writing, or pursuing anything else that they desire in life. Writing is a creative process, but it’s also a business.

If you have the desire to write, then go for it! Don’t let others deter you from your dreams.

(c) 2008 Sarah Mäkelä


  1. I know what you mean, Nancy. Even when I have her on when I’m editing, she still makes me lose focus. Argh! Sometimes it’s hard to tell if what I’ve written is good enough. =)

    Thanks so much for your comment!

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