Charlotte Rains Dixon  

Consistency for Writers



The word is much like the word discipline in that it elicits yawns and boredom from us.  I mean, who ever got excited about the word consistency?

And yet, consistency is how writing gets done.

When you have a consistent writing practice, books get written.  Blog posts get written.  Essays get written.  I was thinking about this today when I was despairing about a lenghty ghostwriting project I've got going.  The topic is dense, the information complex.  And I'm getting the book written one word at a time.  I keep going back to it consistently.  I keep putting it on my to-do list. And the chapters are piling up.

So, too, with my latest novel.  I keep plugging away at it (actually, that makes it sound like it's not much fun working on it, and the opposite is true–I love it) and with a consistent practice of 1000 words a day, I got 100 pages done from the time I came up with the idea.

Consistency, in my mind, is better than wild late night sprints staying up until all hours working–and then crashing for days.  Consistency is the turtle, not the hare.

Here's a consistency story for you:

In November of 2007, I left a comment on a blog about Zen practice.  I'd found the blog and "met" its owner through what was then a hot site for bloggers called BlogCatalog.  (Many of my initial online friends and blog readers came from this site.  This was before Twitter, before Pinterest, before Instagram, and one year after Facebook opened its doors to all comers, not just college students.)  The blog's owner, Derek Ayre, a Welshman, emailed me and thanked me for the comment.  I emailed back.

A pen-pal friendship across the oceans was born.

At first we wrote every day.  Then we wrote every other day. Now we write each other about once a week, though sometimes life gets in the way on either end and it turns out to be weeks before one of us answers the other.  

But here's the deal: we always answer each other eventually.  Because the pen-pal friendship is important to us.   And so we are consistent with it.

(I have a bit of an ulterior motive in mentioning Derek because he's got a guest post coming up here on Tuesday and I wanted to spend more time introducing him than a short bio would allow.)

If, at any point in the past six years that we've been corresponding, one or the other of us became inconsistent, the friendship would have died.  But we've been consistent in honoring our email friendship and the result is a connection I treasure.

So, yeah, if you're looking for a good buzz word for 2014, you could do worse than to choose consistency, my friends.

What are you consistent about?  Your writing? Something else?  Please comment.

(And come back Tuesday for Derek's post.)

Photo by 416Style.

0 thoughts on “Consistency for Writers

  1. Sandra Pawula

    Yes, some of those boring words can be the very best ones! I’m consistent about writing for my blog. I’m consistent about meditating everyday. I’d like to explore other areas where I could apply more consistency like creating new courses. Thanks for the push.

  2. Sandra Pawula

    Yes, consistency is one of those boring words that makes an incredible difference in our lives. I’m consistent about writing on my blog. I’m consistent about meditating everyday. Now, I would like to explore being consistent about creating new e-courses. Thanks for the push.

  3. Charlotte Dixon

    That's a goal for me as well, Sandra.  And I'm very excited about your Living With Ease class!

  4. Robyn LaRue

    If it wasn’t for consistent writing practice, I’d never get words on the page. Thanks for reminding me how important it is. If I could only be that consistent in other areas of my life….:)

  5. Charlotte Dixon

    Well many writers might envy your consistency in writing, Robyn! Way to go!

    Sent from my iPad

  6. Zan Marie

    Boring but effect. That’s the ticket! ;-)

  7. Don Williams

    Thanks Charlotte, more great advice.

    I guess it’s true: ‘No Pain, No Gain!’

    Being consistent might be boring, might even be a pain-in-the-you-know-what?, but without it the only guarantee that you can expect is failure. Besides my health, a lack of consistency has been one of the two biggest obstacles in my writing, so thanks again Charlotte for the inspiration to be more consistent and persistent in my writing!

  8. Charlotte Dixon

    Sometimes boring is good!

  9. Charlotte Dixon

    I think lack of consistency is a problem for a lot of writers, Don.  We tend to get those creative bursts and then exhaust ourselves!  But, as the old cliche goes, slow and steady really does win the race.

  10. Charlotte Dixon

    Oh Sara, thanks for coming over here from Patty's blog.  I love her!  And I'm so happy that this post gave you a reminder of how important writing is to you.  When you're a writer, if you're not writing, you can't truly be happy. I hope you'll dust off the cobwebs and have at it.

  11. Sara

    I came here from Patty’s site and your “wisdom” quote. I’m glad I did. I needed to be reminded about consistency. I’ve been putting my writing on the shelf, where it’s collecting dust and cobwebs. It seems everything else was more important. Yet, for me, writing is my soul food. I needed the reminder to eat some of it every day:~)

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