“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” — Stephen King, On Writing: a Memoir of the Craft
Writing for a living is many things—art, craft, skill—but most of all, it is work. There is no getting around it; in many ways, it is like any other job. You show up, you roll up your sleeves (figuratively), and you just do it. That doesn’t mean you don’t ever feel inspired; it simply means that if you wait for your muse to perch on your shoulder, you may have a long wait. Some days she’s there; other days she does show. It’s lovely when she does, but you won’t fold up and die if she doesn’t. You will write, just as you always do.
I wrote a novel once upon a time. It was truly a magical experience, even though I had no idea what I was doing. Nonfiction seemed a more natural fit for me, and after many years of trying to master my craft, I do know what I’m doing. I’m working. Sometimes, I get paid for it; sometimes, I don’t. Nobody pays me to write a blog post or a book of my own, but my attitude is the same as when I am working with a client. Writing is what I do, and I work very hard to do it well.
Getting up and going to work means two things: (1) showing up at the place where you write—whether that is a cozy home office, the dining room table, or an off-site, shared space and (2) writing, in whatever way you do that. Many of us use computers these days, but if you are a yellow, legal-pad person or still pounding a manual typewriter, those are just the tools of your trade. They help you do what you do, which is string words together. I probably should add (3), which is sticking with it until you are finished for the day—not until you get stuck or frustrated or uninspired—but until you have done what you came to do.
That doesn’t mean what you wrote is necessarily good. It may not be, but you can fix it tomorrow. The point is you did your job. You get up and go to work. That’s what separates real writers from amateurs.