All writers aspire to recognition, but are we dedicated? Ambition is simply the drive or strong desire for something. It is the enthusiastic wanting, that yearning felt in every pore, every cell in our bodies toward a specific aim. Sounds a lot like an addiction, doesn’t it? That’s because it is. We become addicted to our fantasy of what it’s like to live as a working, paid writer. That fantasy is great, it’s wonderful. Keep it. Don’t let it take the place of dedication.
Dedication, on the other hand, according to Dictionary.com, is defined as “selfless devotion". I was reading a book entitled “78 Reasons Why Your Book May Never Be Published & 14 Reasons Why it Just Might" by Pat Walsh. In the introduction, he talks about the difference between ambition and dedication and writes: “Most people who write a book have ambition, which differs from dedication. With ambition, the goal is the key element. With dedication, the process is the prize. "
He’s right. If you are selflessly devoted to your writing, the end result should be the act of creation, the act of manifesting, the act of communicating a version of your story that is better than your greatest possible version. If you aspire to greatness, then fantasy is no longer good enough. How dedicated are you to your craft, regardless of your desire for publication and fame?
Letting go (at least temporarily) of ambition and rededicating yourself to your craft is your first step toward achieving your goals. Sounds recursive, I know – it’s the same with that old adage: “just when you’re not looking, you’ll find Mr. /Ms. right". Irritating? Yes. True? Also yes. Here are a few tips to get you on your way toward your newfound perseverance.
Join a writers group or start one yourself.
This will force you to write and to adhere to deadlines and witness other people meeting deadlines and achieving goals. It is positive peer pressure at its finest.
Take writing courses and seminars.
If you can afford it, sign up for that class or seminar you’ve been longing to take. Better yet, sign up for something that scares you to death, something you feel completely unqualified to take. You will experience the most growth from this class. Too expensive? There are lots of inexpensive, and even free, writing resources on the web, including my website http://www.lawritersgroup.com which is a free online writers group open to writers of all levels.
Write every day.
I know you’ve heard this so many times, it feels like a bad cliché, and makes you want to throw your computer out the window, but if you are dedicated to the process of writing, you should do it daily. Accept that your life will be a cliché and move forward.
Start living like a writer: Set Goals.
Make deadlines for yourself: “I’ll have 30 pages done by a month from today". Make every effort to meet that deadline. Deadlines, like them or not, are part of the literary occupation. Accept it now, and start living that way, start living like a writer.
Reading in your genre is essential for any writer. Reading about writing and publishing and about story arcs is also helpful. For a list of recently published books for writers, go to http://www.lawritersgroup.com/Books.htm
Now go forth and write with dedication.
Nicole Criona is co-owner and creator of http://www.lawritersgroup.com , a worldwide online writers group open to writers of all levels, which mirrors her Los Angeles writers group. Nicole can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org .