David Safford over at The Write Practice has a spot on article on the key ingredient when it comes to actually being a writer vice just trying to be a writer: discipline.
The truth of the matter is that no matter how talented I think I am, talent alone is never enough. Practice is what I, and every other writer, needs and commitment to that practice only comes through discipline.
Safford does a great job outlining just what that discipline looks like and gives some practical advice that I definitely intend to incorporate into my writing life. Reading his article reminded me of a passage from Hemingway’s Island’s in the Stream:
He had known how to paint for a long time and he believed he learned more every year. But learning how to settle down and how to paint with discipline had been hard for him because there had been a time in his life when he had not been disciplined. He had never been truly irresponsible; but he had been undisciplined, selfish, and ruthless…
…Then he had resolved that he would be selfish only for his painting, ruthless only for his work, and that he would discipline himself and accept the discipline.
(Hemingway, Ernest. Islands in the Stream: A Novel (pp. 14-15). Scribner. Kindle Edition.)
The advice is sound. I think that I have talent as a writer, but it’s not going to mean much if I don’t develop the discipline to go along with it.