Discipline is not enough to finish that book

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Many writers dream of having nothing to do but write. Reality is very different most of the time.

Most business book writers have to wedge writing work into an already full schedule. It’s difficult. It takes discipline.

You need discipline to do the hard work when you’d rather not. It takes discipline to sit down alone to write when there’s a party going on nearby. But discipline is not enough.

You can’t make it easy on yourself because writing a book is hard work. You can make it less hard. Create good writing habits and set up environmental cues to help you get the work done.

Establish Your Writing Habit

There are people who can write anywhere, no matter what’s going on around them. Most of those people worked as journalists. The rest of us have to create our writing habit.

You can write an hour every day, early in the morning, late at night, or on a break in the middle of your day. You might spend four hours every weekend working on your book. A client of mine wrote his book taking a full day every month and hiding out in a hunting cabin. It doesn’t matter what the habit is, it only matters that you have a habit.

Your writing habit tells your brain you always write in the same place at the same time. When the time comes, and you go to that place, your brain knows it’s time to write.

Many authors have a pre-start ritual. Earnest Hemingway supposedly sharpened a certain number of pencils before he wrote.

Your Writing Session

When it’s time to write, write. Don’t do anything else. That’s how you get the most out of large blocks of uninterrupted time. At the end of your session, decide two things. Decide what you will write next. That way, you can start right in and not piddle away time you could devote to writing.

Decide what you must do between this writing session and the next one. You don’t have to lay out a detailed plan. Just decide the next step.

Between Writing Sessions

Between writing sessions do everything necessary to make your writing session productive. Research. Outline your next chapter. Play with ideas for the book.

You will get ideas between writing sessions. You must capture them, or they will flit away like butterflies on the wind. It doesn’t matter how you capture your ideas. I use a small digital recorder. Other writers use notebooks and index cards. How doesn’t matter. Just capture those ideas.

Bottom Line

Writing a book is hard work. You need discipline, but discipline isn’t enough. Establish a solid writing habit. Use writing time for writing and nothing else. Use the time between sessions to prepare for the next session. Capture your ideas.

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