The secret to success (and to good writing)

I'm a sucker for books on writing. I've got a whole shelf full, from Charles Baxter's Bringing the Devil to his Knees: The Craft of Fiction and the Writing Life to Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need. I keep thinking that one day I'm going to finally get the book that has a secret decoder ring hidden inside. I'll slip it on my finger and suddenly I'll have all the beauty, grace and ease of writing I've ever wanted. I will be a star!

And maybe you think that about your business, too: Some seminar, some trade show, some deep-pockets client will sprinkle you with magic fairy dust. And presto! Your bank account will fill up and all of your worries will evaporate.

We may not like to admit it, but we know that's not how it works.

Here is how it works:

You have to put the time in and just do the work. Again and again. Day after day.

It's not glamorous. It's often not even all that much fun.

But it's the only thing that really works.

And with writing, putting the time in has an even more measurable effect on your success. Because you really do have to write page after page of mediocre copy to extract the super-good stuff that makes doing what we do so much fun.

If you aren't putting in the time to get through to the good stuff, then you're going to end up turning in that mediocre copy. The client may think it's "fine," but you know deep down what could have been.

So here's a challenge to myself and to everyone:

Suck it up. Do the work.

I promise we'll all feel better at the end of the day.