This podcast is about process–and the discipline needed to write and publish. It is an excerpt from my book, Women Voice and Writing.
Discipline. This is that aphorism: “It doesn’t matter how good you are, it’s how bad you want it.”
Joan Hiatt Harlow taught elementary children a course she designed called “The writing game.” I asked her if she could identify potential writers in young children:
The most creative people are not the most productive because they may not have that drive to produce. They are not builders. Talent is one thing and the drive to express it is another.
Someone may have talent and great ideas, but give up or not work on it. Someone else may not have as much talent, but work at it more and perfect it.
The drive allows one to succeed.
Dorothea Brande advises writing every day, even just 300 words. In her words from her 1934 book, Becoming a Writer, this commitment is a “debt of honor.” Like brushing your teeth, it must become non- negotiable, so that eventually you no longer doubt if you can write a page a day, you just do it. And the words and pages mount up.
This is the feel-the-burn part. Caroline Bird said to me, “Suppose you have 27 hours in a day. God has given everyone else 24, but you have 27 for now. What will you do with those extra three hours? What do you really want to do?”
I answered, “I’d take a walk in the woods every morning with my dogs, and then I’d write. I’d write everything in my head, and then I’d go out and research, fill it up some more, and write some more.”
She replied, “You’re not going to get those extra three hours a day. You have to make them.”