Welcome to Writing Biz Reality
MYTH OF THE MUSE
A lot of beginning writers want to write books. So they tell me and others who will listen. I have a friend who wants to get paid for freelance writing, but she hasn't actually tried to do so. In fact, she hasn't written any spec articles to place in a portfolio of samples. Just like some wannabe novelists I know who haven't sat down and consistently produced pages of writing. They write when the "muse" inspires them.
Fantasy vs. Reality
These writers have an idealistic view of writing as a career. Why? Because they think you only write when you're inspired. Ask any writer - freelance or novelist - who has signed a contract if that's how they work. They'll tell you - as soon as they finish laughing - that the business doesn't work that way. If you're under contract, you don't wait for the Muse to pay you a visit. You write whether you're inspired or not.
Got a deadline and got the flu? You write. You're depressed and weepy? You write. Don't know what this scene or even this chapter is about? You still write.
Do you get the idea? Writing demands the same kind of dedication as careers in teaching or accounting or any other job. If you're a teacher and you're tired and sleepy, you don't sleep in. You go to school and teach.
If you're an accountant and you're tired of the same old grind, day in and day out, you don't skip work and go to the ball game or a spa. You go to the office at your appointed time.
Writers, if you want to be successful, adopt the work ethic of your peers out in the job force. You may be one of those who punches in and out at the same time every day. Put your butt in the computer chair at the appointed time and write.
You have to be disciplined, and you must learn to create on a consistent schedule. But you're lucky in that you decide exactly when you must place your butt in the chair and how long you must keep it there.