May 26, 2017 @ 9:03 PM

Seven sensible steps to success as a writer
Step 5 The discipline of writing

The art of writing demands the same commitment and discipline as any other profession. Unlike most other undertakings, however, the way you practice that discipline depends very largely on yourself.

We’re all individuals, with our own habits and foibles, dislikes and preferences for what works best for us.

Some writers find the creative impulse flows most easily at night. Patrick White, I know, was one of them. Others prefer the afternoon. For me, early morning is best – alone in the dawn at the laptop or iPad with the rest of the house asleep and no telephones or emails to interrupt.

Indeed, I’ll frequently bring my wife her first cup of coffee in bed at eight o’clock with a new page fresh from the printer. ‘What do you think of that, dear?’

Some prefer to write longhand on paper. I always did so – at least for my literary work – with black ink on a white page until seventeen years ago and the twenty-first century dawned. (Oscar Wilde, I once read, wrote with green ink on mauve paper, as I imagine he might well have done!)

Since 2000 and Soldier Boy, however, I’ve been able to compose my books directly onto the keyboard as we always did in journalism – and no doubt as the majority of authors in our digital society do today.

Next: Two hundred words a day.


Photo: Oscar Wilde in his favourite coat 1882, by Napoleon Sarony