Yes, that’s right. I’m going to give you the secret, handed down from the writing gods. It is the secret you have climbed this mountain to find, young supplicant, through the freezing glaciers, without climbing gear and bearing a rare flower in your teeth, just to prove your worthiness.
The secret is . . . that there is no secret. The secret is that you have to put in the effort. The secret is that you can have all the great ideas you want; but unless you practice your craft, unless you write and write and write, unless you try and fail and learn from the experience, unless you do what everyone learning any craft must do since the dawn of the ages, you will never write that novel.
But that’s not the title of this blog post. The reason why you’re reading this is because you’re asking “Okay, Mr. Bowman, how do I write a novel in three months? Just sit down and write? Oh, is that all?” Continue reading
I did not give this post a more obvious name, because then I would have to list an eighth habit of highly productive writers: avoiding C&D letters from people who have successfully trademarked the phrase “7 Habits.” (No, really.)
This is a long post, but it’s also a complex topic. I thought about splitting it into other posts, but I figured that keeping it in one place was better for you than padding my post-count.
Being a professional creator is a different job from, well, pretty much every other job. There are no set hours, no set workspace, not even a single set of rules that works for everyone. It’s a job that requires dedication and persistence, and the development of particular habits that may, in Aristotelian splendor, grow into virtues.
It’s a job where success is not measured in time spent, but rather your output; so if you’re trying to get paid for your work, then you know that every moment you don’t spend working is a moment you won’t get paid for later. Taking a sick day doesn’t mean your coworkers have to pull your slack — it means you don’t get anything done. Period. It’s not just a good idea to maximize your productivity. It’s vital.
I’ve collected some habits below that may work for you. I guarantee that not all of them will. It’s an easy guarantee because some of them are contradictory — but that’s the nature of being a professional creator. Some things that work for you won’t work for anyone else.
Because of that, I have another guarantee: there is something you can do to maximize your productivity that is not on this list. Finding it is up to you. I’m just giving you some suggestions to try.