A few years ago I blogged about something I learned from prolific author Robert (Dick) Vaughan.
In case you don't know much about Mr. Vaughan, allow me to educate you about this remarkable author who sold his first book when he was only 19. He's written over 250 books under 35 different pseudonyms--men's and women's names.
Early in his career, he was nominated for the Pulitzer. He won the 1977 Porgie Award (Best Paperback Original) for The Power and the Pride. He's written television movie novelizations and books in just about every genre. In 1998, he was inducted into the Writer's Hall of Fame. 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.
I guess one could say he's a man's man because he served 3 tours in Nam and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with the V for valor, the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Purple Heart. Let's just say that he can bring a sense of realism to his books, and that's probably one reason he's such a popular author of what my husband calls men's fiction.
This Man Knows Writing
I give you his credentials in order to make the point that Robert (Dick) Vaughan knows a lot more about writing and publishing -- and staying published -- than most of us will ever know. How has he produced so many words? So many books and every kind of writing?
I was fortunate to attend several workshops Dick Vaughan led at writer's conferences in Beaumont, Texas. One thing Dick said really stuck in my mind. I owe much of my writing career to following this one bit of advice from him.
So I want to talk about that -- about a subject to which most people don't pay enough attention because it sounds like, well, hard work.
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. Dick Vaughan said to embroider this on a sampler. I didn't do that, but I did print it out into a big sign that I taped above my 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 what will get you going when you don't feel like writing. Work Discipline is often the one thing that many writers lack. I always say that you can move a mountain one shovelful at a time just like you can write the biggest book by writing one page at a time.
The bridge between talent and success is Work Discipline. Start building your bridge today.
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