Ira Glass, Host of This American Life, says at the end of his How I Work interview with LifeHacker to “Begin now. Be a f**king soldier about it and be tough.”
I read this interview a few years ago and I loved that last line.
So, when I had yet another disappointing day of serious self-doubt where I started looking for jobs again and thinking that I just don’t have what it takes to be a writer, I remembered that piece of advice from Ira.
I woke up early today and decided things were going to be different, starting now.
I’m rearranging my schedule and my attitude to make writing and learning about writing my main goal.
I want to be a successful writer.
I want to write the best novels that I can possibly write.
I want to share stories that let people know they aren’t alone.
I want to feel proud of my work.
When I die, I want to die knowing that I did what I wanted to do.
Over the coming months, I’m putting into practice a routine for myself that includes regular exercise, healthy food, reading, writing, and even time to socialize. I’ve realized over the last two months that trying to be a writing monk doesn’t work for me. I have to balance the solitary nature of writing with my extroverted need to talk with people.
I have the time and resources this year to delve deep into my writing and to improve my craft. It’s time to take advantage of this gift.
Future blog posts will be about the new habits, practices, and techniques I’ve put into place and how it’s working out.
No more excuses.
No more whining.
Time to solider up and do it.
Peg Cheng is the author of The Contenders, a middle-grade novel centered on the question, can enemies become friends? She is also the founder of Prelaw Guru, a law school application consulting company, and the author of The No B.S. Guides for prelaw students.
Photo by Paul Abell / AP Images of U.S. Army Reserve Major Lisa Jaster, center, the third woman to graduate from the elite Ranger School. Jaster, 37, joins just two other women, Capt. Kristen Griest, 26, left, and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, 25, right, in gaining the coveted Ranger tab.