Components of a Writing Program

Starting a Writing Program

If you want to write, you will need to acquaint yourself with literature. The most often shared advice is that wannabe writers read voraciously. I say, that advice is for those who want to write. For those who would BECOME A WRITER, the advice is different and more specific. Create a writing program.

As a self-defined writer, you are embarking upon a career requiring work. A writing program supports smart work rather than busy work. Such a program can actively guard against the enemies of writers everywhere: procrastination, writer’s block, mental quicksand, and inconsistency.

Passion, creativity, discipline, and accountability are the four components of a writing program.

Passion and Creativity are the Art of writing. Accountability and Discipline are the science of writing.


Passion comes from an intense desire to understand interest. The difference between an interest for many and interest for a writer is the intention to explore the interest through some narrative method. That is, the writer places the interest in different contexts, different embodiments, and different objects in order to expose its characteristics.

You identify passion most simply through identifying interests. Consider which of your interests you would like to explore. If you identify more than one, choose the interest that you will start with. Make a list of your priorities, organizing your interests. Play around with combining interests in ways that enable you to explore more than one at a time.


Creativity is a function of climate, attitudes, and thinking. Climate includes personal and environmental elements that support your ability to dream. Most of us lose some of the permission we had as children as we age into adulthood. Climate is concerned with reallocating that permission to brainstorm, be silly, and dream without boundaries. Attitudes can be thought of as an extension of climate in that attitudes are an orientation of the mind. Once you have the permission of climate, attitudes are head tilts, perspective, direction, and color choices that impact your vision.

Thinking is your flexibility in choices. The most creative individuals are more fluid in their exploration of ideas. They can focus in on the development of an idea, but they do not get so caught up with one idea that they become closed to other ideas. When faced with a novel idea, highly creative individuals are able to give attention to that idea without sacrificing respect and love for other ideas.


Discipline is the most difficult element for most people. Rather than thinking of discipline as achievement, think of it as by-product of your established routine. Create an accounting of your daily habits in half-hour increments. Review that accounting to identify times that you routinely do not have something scheduled. Pick a time to write that fits with your schedule.

If your time is always taken 8am to 10pm, create a new schedule to wake one-hour earlier in the day. Write then. As your routine becomes habit, you will realize discipline.


Accountability is a challenge for many beginning writers. Without the pressure of a contract, a collaborator, or a boss, you may find it hard to get on track and stay on track. You have the discipline to sit down every day, but that does not result in inspiration and the ability to produce each time you sit.

The best skill you can develop as an author is the outlining skill. Consider that a well-done outline is more than just an order of events. A well-done outline presents you with sections, chapters, topics, and scenes. For a 120-page book scenes would only need to be one page in length each. That means that each time you sit to write, you are working to produce just one page of text. That length lessens the burden you feel. The outline’s notes and prompts provides a specific focus that has already cleared your planning review. You know that the page you write will fit into the story just as you intended.