The Importance of Will Power for Writers

This quote from Neil Gaiman sums up why writing is so freeing and also so frightening. There are no rules.

This quote from Neil Gaiman sums up why writing is so freeing and also so frightening. There are no rules.

Some people will have you believe that there are rules or steps you must take to write a novel (in a lot of cases they’ll tell you that so you’ll buy their self-help book), but the plain fact is that there are no rules. The lack of rules is part of why writing is so hard. There are no real or concrete rules you must abide by or lines you must stay within to be a writer, or to be a successful writer, and so you’re only limited by your own will power and imagination. We, as writers, can’t look at the establishment and complain that it’s trying to “box us in” or “strangle our creativity”. Most of the time when we fail it is our own faults. That’s why writing is such a struggle to begin with. No matter how much anyone else tries to help us, in the end it is in our own hands whether or not we fall or accomplish our goals. There are, as I have pointed out before, certain steps you can take to help your editing or brainstorming processes, but there is no such thing as a roadmap to success when it comes to writing. It is a hard road but the only thing you need to do is to find the story you want to tell, and tell it with conviction.

Will power trumps fate, luck, and chance.

Will power trumps fate, luck, and chance.

I know this post has been a bit different from my others but it’s just something that struck me the other day at work. I’ve been working at Under Armour for the past few months and right now one of our product lines is called the “I Will What I Want” line. The whole line of shirts has sayings that are based on getting what we want through will power and determination. My favorite one was a tank top that said “Don’t Wish for It, Work for It”. I know the product line was intended for athletes but the sayings they had apply to writing as well. If you’ll excuse me I am going to do some freewriting, the writing equivalent to a 50 yard dash!

Exercise of the Day

Exercise of the Day

Exercise of the Day: The Local News

Go to the local section of any newspaper and pick three separate stories. Using a person from one story, the setting from another and the conflict from a third create a story. For example I found a local newspaper and wrote a story using Harold Johnson, who lived in Lubbock, Texas, and the conflict in the story was over a lover’s quarrel. Have fun with this and I will see you later.




Filed under Books, Characters, Creative, Creative writing, Fiction, Imagination, Literature, Nanowrimo, Novel Writing, Uncategorlzed, Writing, writing prompt, writing tips

5 responses to “The Importance of Will Power for Writers

  1. Don’t wish for it, work for it. What a wonderful quote. This has practically been my life mantra for years. I really believe this when it comes to writing. Wonderful post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Best quote ever! Having a dream is great, but if you are not willing to work for it, that’s all it’s ever going to be!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. An artist character in my first novel is forever reminding his friend, also an artist, “Don’t make yourself paint. Let yourself paint.” He’s in my novel in progress too, probably because I need that reminder as much as his friend does.

    One thing that can make writing hard is that, unless you’re working on assignment or under contract, there’s no reason to write. You have to come up with your own reasons, and then figure out by trial and error what works for you. That’s hard. It’s much easier to read one how-to book after another, hoping that it contains The Answer. It doesn’t. Heading off into the wilderness — which is what writing is like a lot of the time — takes curiosity, courage, and perseverance.

    My touchstone is something Alice Walker said in an interview many years ago: “I think writing really helps you heal yourself. I think if you write long enough, you will be a healthy person. That is, if you write what you need to write, as opposed to what will make money, or what will make fame.”

    If will power works for you, by all means use it. at least until stronger motivations come along. What I find, though, is that when I have to force myself to do something, I’m usually doing the wrong thing.


    • By having will power I am not talking about forcing myself to write. I am talking about only having the strength to write even when there is no reason to do it. I have stories in my head and if I want to truly do them justice I must write them with my whole heart and have the determination not to abandon my pursuit when the road gets rough. That is something I know that I’ve done a lot of in the past. I have given up when things got too difficult, and so in order to become a better person and writer I accept that fault and do everything I can to overcome it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s