Today The Art of Manliness discussed “The Gains of Drudgery.” Although this site can sometimes have an “old man shaking his fist at the young whippersnappers” feel to it, as an old man at heart, it’s a site I check fairly frequently. Even if you are not a man or not even genetically male, there is a lot that can be learned on a site that takes “The world belongs to those who hustle” as one of its mottoes. Also, I just like seeing another lawyer do well writing online.
Dawson defines drudgery as the basic grunt work that doesn’t get you gold stars but is necessary to whatever task is at hand. We all have to do it. Some handle it gracefully, while others (myself all too often included) complain or half-ass it. Dawson advises that we reconfigure our approach to such drudgery. We should realize that the people we view as great successes are masters of the drudgery. We should remember that we only see the successful’s finished product. We don’t see their late nights, their struggles, their revisions. But the successful have logged the hours, focused on the details, and simply got stuff done. Look at drudgery not only as a way to improve your fundamentals, but also to build discipline and (as Calvin’s dad always said) build character.
For writers, the fundamental rule is to write, write, write. There is no better rule for producing material. This is especially true for beginning writers such as myself. Whether you follow Malcolm Gladwell’s advice that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert, or that a writer’s first million words are just practice, there will certainly be some days where writing feels like drudgery instead of art. On those days, you will simply not feel like putting in the time to bang out your daily quota. But do it anyway. And tomorrow, do it again. Don’t wait for inspiration to come knocking. Be so busy you don’t even hear the knock. The more you hustle today, the sooner others will look at you as a success.