I am often asked how I discipline myself into starting and finishing a book. Though the answer may be different for everyone, there are a few consistencies that I think all writers follow. The first among them is the passion to write. Writing is a creative outlet and as such the drive to execute it can fluctuate. The best way to steady the tide of creativity is to to keep it going. Fuel the fire by writing daily. It doesn't have to be twenty pages, nor does it have to be your manuscript. Write in a diary, write a letter, send an elaborate email; whatever keeps the words flowing directly contributes to the habit of composition and the desire of imagination. The "discipline" will evolve into a daily ritual that is not only productive but fortifying. Directly tied to the schedule of writing is the environment in which it takes place.
I prefer to write in the afternoon and nothing suits me better than a curtained room. Laptop atop my lap, I sit with an oversized mug of tea and work my way through my pages. As I've grown more secure in my writing habits I have grown tolerant of a changing environment and it is this flexibility that I advocate to other writers. If you must be at a certain desk, at a certain time, you will only be setting yourself up for delays and distraction. I prefer my own home and a cup of tea, but should those things be unavailable, it is no matter, and I compose without them. The fickle nature of creativity is obstacle enough without adding immobility. Once the schedule and environment are secure, one can focus on focusing.
Occasionally the phone rings, other times it's the front door, or perhaps the dog wants out; regardless of the event, it is a distraction from one's work. In my opinion, this can be the greatest challenge to writing because such events have a validity to them that justifies immediately tending to them. The only way to avoid being deterred is by simply refusing to give into them. Establish a time to write and acknowledge to yourself that within that space you will not answer a text, feed the cat, have lunch, run to the mailbox or any other non-writing chore. They can wait and if you ever want to finish, you will learn to ignore the outside world. For a dedicated writer, time nor place can keep them from writing.
Guest post by Danae Samson