How Authors Use Persistence To Write Their Books
Discipline allows magic. To be a writer is to be the very best of assassins. You do not sit down and write every day to force the Muse to show up. You get into the habit of writing every day so that when she shows up, you have the maximum chance of catching her, bashing her on the head, and squeezing every last drop out of that bitch.”
This quote by Lili St. Crow speaks volumes about the idea of persistence in writing. There will not be inspiration in everything you write.
Some days may feel like nothing useful will spill out onto the paper. But what is important is that the habit of writing is forming in your body and mind, which can lead to those short glimpses of brilliance that every writer craves. If you wait for the muse without writing, you may never meet her. But if you write consistently and without expectation, maybe she will come crashing through the front door.
Put In The Time
Barbara Kingsolver has advice for when that muse does show up:
“I learned to produce whether I wanted to or not. It would be easy to say ‘oh, I have writer’s block, oh, I have to wait for my muse.’ I don’t. Chain that muse to your desk and get the job done.”
Kingsolver is just providing a different perspective on the same message. If you put in the time, you will be rewarded in a varying manner of ways. The hard part for the writer is that the linear progression featured in financial analysis and the upward trajectory of the modern professional businessperson does not translate well to their craft. There are no charts to read to discover if the writing is good or if it will sell.
Their bonus is not tied into the hours they put in at work.
Maya Angelou echoes this sentiment in a less-structured approach:
“What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks ‘the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat.’ And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, ‘Okay. Okay. I’ll come.’”
Although there are no clear projections in the process of writing, without simply getting down and doing it, nothing can be accomplished.
Without persistence, how can you know the limits of your work?
How do you stay motivated to write?