Turning the corner from amateur to professional seems like a true ordeal to those pushing the envelope. I often hear: “I’d write more, but I just can’t get inspired” or “I don’t have the time I need”! The truth is, life does not accommodate the dreamer. Having a dream is not enough, and muses don’t bless as often as they should. You must be professional before you’re recognized as one. It’s unfair, I know, but there you are.
The two main traits of a professional are these: they write whether they feel like it or not, and they make the time for what’s important—learning the craft of writing.
The pro set a regular schedule, working a certain amount of time or completing a certain number of pages each day. He or she usually chooses the same time and place, a quiet corner where they can lock out the world. During this holy time, no one is allowed to interrupt except in direst emergency. If a writer makes this adamantly clear, and stands by it, half the battle is won.
Next, the pro doesn’t wait for inspiration, but plans the next project, writes a synopsis—-a writer’s blueprint-—and works the plan so the story doesn’t meander hopelessly. If after an hour or two, all the professional types is maggot-gagging tripe, the time is still well spent because habit creates discipline which creates professionalism.
Time and energy will eventually be rewarded. On an average, it takes most writers seven years to get into print, and usually not with their first effort at a novel. The pro hones his skills, learning the requirements of his avocation. Great writers are not so much born, as made in the crucible of effort and determination.
A bumblebee flies because it doesn’t know it can’t. A writer writes because that’s what writers do. In the long run, a writer is just someone who didn’t quit--may God have mercy on us all.