James Scott Bell in his The Art of War For Writers highlights this essential principle: Discipline Is Always The First Step Toward Victory.

Bell writes: “Victory in anything, from war to football, is founded in training and discipline. Nothing worthwhile is gained by sloth and wishful thinking.”

Then he shares a particular discipline he practices that for him has meant all the difference:

Write a quota of words every week.

British writer Anthony Trollope set for himself the goal of writing a certain number of pages per week, and learned to stick to it, though he worked a full-time job until his writing career was established. Trollope said of this habit, “It has the force of the water drop that hollows the stone. A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labors of a spasmodic Hercules.”

Beautiful things can emerge by slow persistence over time. A glacier can yield Yosemite Valley, or a river can carve out the Grand Canyon. Imagine what your pen could produce?

I’ve learned for myself that if you wait for inspiration, inspiration will be fleeting. The inspiration comes in the act of regimented writing. So whether you are a writer, musician, painter, journalist – whatever your art, discipline yourself to give daily time toward a weekly goal of creative output.