Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Writing Discipline

Students often ask me for recommendations on how to improve their writing discipline. One key is believing in yourself and taking your writing seriously. It sounds a little hokey, but it’s true.

I remember a friend in graduate school introducing himself as a poet during our first year. I was, perhaps oddly, taken aback. I didn’t think we were at that point yet. How could we identify as poets if we still had so much more to learn?

I now understand that there is great power in calling yourself a writer. It means that you take your craft seriously. You believe that your writing has merit and value. Therefore, you honor the craft by practicing it regularly: writing, editing, revising and reading.

Practicing your craft takes time. If writing is an important part of you and what you do everyday, then it deserves time. If you see writing as a cute hobby you do on the side, then when it comes to deciding if you spend time writing or doing something else, you will invariably choose the something else. Yes, we all have many commitments and important things to do everyday. We can, however, make the time to write.

That is the first step: allow yourself to have the discipline.

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