Write every day. Not every other day. Not tomorrow. Not after the party. But before. The more you write, the more comes out of you. If you don't give inspiration an opportunity, it will never arrive.
I saw this quote in an Ethan Hawke AMA on Reddit several months ago. For me, the quote wasn't only pithy, but genuinely thought-provoking. I couldn't get it out of my head. I think it not only speaks to the discipline it takes for a person to be a successful writer, but the dedication it takes to be successful in any creative profession. The creative impulse isn't just something that flutters inside your brain like a moth, seeking the best time and place to land. Creativity also thrives in harmony with structure and repetition and routine.
Even as creativity begins to bloom, it's easy for us, as writers, to quash it by succumbing to The Fear. Anyone who has ever put pen to paper, or blinking cursor to screen, knows that vice-like grip. What if my work isn't good? What if someone hates this? What if I hate it because nothing's coming out right?!
Take it from me: I've felt The Fear. I have waded in it, dived into it, been swept away in its undertow. But the most important part of being a successful writer -- and also, the most difficult -- is to acknowledge the anxiety of putting your work, your heart, your locus of identity on display for the world to see. Then to set that negative voice aside, without another thought.
(If anyone succeeds in doing this, tell me how. You'll make millions.)
Until the day we feel no fear, we've all got to work to create our own opportunities, our own characters, and our own voices. We've got to write every day. Even if it's only fifty words. Even if it's only ten.
We write. We write. We write.