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I think discipline > inspiration.

Are you the type that struggles to write because you don’t think you’re getting the inspiration, or the type that waits for the right moment to write? I thought I could illustrate the power of discipline over waiting for inspiration to write, with a simple graphic.

Graph showing impact of discipline in writing habits, over inspiration
  • In this sample graphic, over the shown period of time, someone with writing discipline would make more than twice the progress compared to someone “waiting for the right moment or inspiration” even if the inspirational spikes/best moments are taller.

  • With discipline, you iterate faster, learn and refine quicker, and over time you become a stronger writer. Long periods between writing causes you to relearn concepts whereas consistent, disciplined writing builds continuously.

  • The impact of productivity magnifies over a longer period because each work that you produce stands on the shoulder of the previous, and has the power of pull-through.

  • How do I use inspirational times? I actually use those moments jot down ideas and concepts (apart from writing if there’s enough time) that I then flesh out during my disciplined writing periods. My big takeaway is that you can use inspiration to develop ideas and discipline to write.

  • If you’re the type that’s always inspired or a full-time writer, I got nothing to say except to say I wish I could be that way! I think most of us struggle time to time.

  • Yes, there can be exceptions, the math can work out differently if your disciplined words/day are far less than your big inspirational spikes and so on, but those are not the norm.

  • I employ this mindset in all my writing. All my books are 90% discipline—sitting and writing after setting a daily goal—and 10% inspiration, which is where I dream up ideas.

Hope that helps!

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About Jay Penner

Jay Penner writes fast-paced, realistic ancient historical fiction. His highly-rated books regularly feature in category bestsellers on Amazon. He is the author of Spartacus, Cleopatra, and Whispers of Atlantis series. Reach out to him or subscribe to his popular newsletter.

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