Bridge Between Talent and Success

Let's talk about a subject most people don't pay enough attention to because it sounds like, well, hard work. I'm talking about work discipline.

Want to be successful in your chosen career? Learn work discipline.

Many years ago I attended a workshop by Robert Vaughan who has had more than 500 books published under his own name and various pseudonyms--35 names that I know about.

He's been nominated for the Pulitzer, won the Porgie, the Spur, 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 bestseller lists 7 times. In addition to creating this immense body of work, he's a frequent speaker at high schools, colleges, conferences, and writing workshops.

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 many different genres.

Vaughan's Magical Words

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%?

Work Discipline

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.

Takeaway Truth

You can move a mountain one shovelful at a time just like you can write the biggest book one page at a time.

I Love Readers

To show the love in June, I'm giving away by Random Draw a Swag Bag to 1 lucky reader. If the name chosen is in the lower 48, a gift bag will be sent. Outside that area, a Digital Swag Bag will be sent.


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  1. An excellent post, Joan, and one I needed to read tonight!!
    Thank you :) .

    1. Hi, Marilyn. Thanks. It's always nice to know what I post is well-received.

    2. Have you EVER not been well-received, Joan? Even when we lurk quietly, knowing that we learn only be keeping our traps shut, we are respectfully appreciative.

    3. Harl, how lovely to hear from you. Thank you for such a lovely comment. I do hope that life is treating you better this year.