Time to Get Serious

A lot of people “play” at writing. We tend to think of it as a hobby or a pastime. But I sometimes wonder how much great art is really created by those who don’t take their work seriously.

I wonder how serious Mozart really was about his music, or how dedicated Rembrandt was to his painting, Michelangelo with his sculpture. Did any of them ever think of their work as a pastime? I rather suspect that for these people, their art was their life. It was their passion, their focus. Their service to art defined them.

Each year, most people set goals of some kind, and as a writer, I’m going to set some very firm goals for this coming year.

But no matter how you couch my personal goals, I think that my real goal is to “get more serious” about my writing. There are several ways to do this.

Many writers simply set “completion” goals. They say, something like, “I will write 1000 words a day,” or “I will write one scene per day.” Those are good goals. But setting a goal to complete a certain number of words per day won’t work, unless you set aside time each day to write.

This might mean that you need to give up watching television, or cut back a little on social media. In other words, successful writers look for ways to make writing a habit. They might say, “I’m going to get up and write at 6:00 AM every single day. I won’t read emails or play games—just write, for two hours.” That’s an excellent way to get a book or two done every year.

But as a professional, I’m not content just to write. I want to write noteworthy works, landmark novels. So I might set a goal to write high-quality works: “I’m going to do my best to win the XXX award this year.” I’ve found that when I’m devoted to writing quality, I tend to create my best work.

It may be that you have your own personal goals that you need to set for your writing. For example, you might need to cut back on television watching in order to free up some time to write, or perhaps you need a comfortable office chair so that you can write for longer hours.

Sometimes with goals, it helps to write them down so that you’re frequently reminded of them, or to share them with others in your family or in your writing group.

In short, the new year is coming, and it is time to get serious about your writing.


We are opening up registration for my online writing workshops for a few days. We also have our live workshop in Phoenix coming up in February. Don’t wait until the last minute to get registered–the class may fill up before then. Two new live writing workshops will be up soon.

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