Commitment means parking yourself on the chair in front of the computer and staying there. It means finding time for character analysis and revamping your plot when you’d rather be playing football or going out shopping. It means staying up late, getting up early on Sundays and bank holidays, giving up afternoon naps. In fact, if you have a busy life already, it may sometimes seem as if you are giving up sleep altogether.
There is also a financial commitment. If you sign up for a creative writing course, or buy books on writing, or send your manuscript to a professional literary consultant, the cost mounts up. Not to mention the paper and postage involved in sending work out to agents and publishers. Starting a novel can be daunting if you realize what you are letting yourself in for, but the better prepared you are for the task, the better your chances of completing it. Thousands of writers start writing a novel every day. Only a few finish, and even fewer get their work published.
Organization is a skill that anyone can learn. Because writers are essentially small business people, it’s important for them to learn it as early on in their careers as possible. If you do manage to sell a book, you’ll be glad you kept those receipts, letters and notes. They prove to the tax authorities that you’re serious about your career – and enable you to set legitimate expenses against the tax you pay.