Welcome to Writing Biz Reality. Today is our last session. The RWA Conference is over, and everyone will be rushing home - tired and inspired to write even harder.
BUILD A BRIDGE
Today, let's talk about a subject most people don't pay enough attention to because it sounds like, well, hard work.
Many years ago I attended a workshop by Robert Vaughan who has had more than 250 books published under his own name and various pseudonyms - 35 names in all. He's been nominated for the Pulitzer, won the Porgie, the Spur (under the name K. C. McKenna), and was inducted into the Writers' Hall of Fame in 1998.
His novel Brandywine's War was named by the Canadian University Symposium of Literature as the best iconoclastic novel to come from the Vietnam War. Vaughan has written novelizations for television movies and has hit the New York Times and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists twice. He's also written and produced a one-man play about Ernest Hemingway.
In addition to creating this immense body of work, he's a frequent speaker at high schools, colleges, and writing workshops. All this and he's hosted 3 television talk shows in addition to speaking at seminars, high schools, and colleges.
I give you his credentials in order to make the point that this man knows a lot more about writing and publishing - and staying published - than most of us will ever personally experience. How has he produced so many words? So many books and every kind of writing.
In the workshop I attended, he said if you look at writing talent that it's maybe 15% of writing success. And that might be stretching it.
He then said writing opportunity (going on the internet, finding editors who were acquiring, networking with other writers, etc.) is maybe 10%.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that those two elements make 25% of writing success. What's the other 75%?
He said, and I agree, that Work Discipline makes up the bigger part of the equation called writing success. Vaughan said to embroider this on a sampler (I think most of us will just print out a sign) and hang it above your computer.
The bridge between talent and success is work discipline.
He advocated establishing a daily page quota whether it be 1 page or 10 or more. Every day, produce that page quota. That's work discipline. That's how he approaches every project. He knows how long it takes him to write a book, and he breaks that down into pages per day.
Meet your established quota. That's work discipline. That's the one thing that many writers lack.
You can move a mountain one shovelful at a time just like you can write the biggest book one page at a time.