“Where there is great doubt, there will be great awakening; small doubt, small awakening; no doubt, no awakening.” - Zen proverb

Two writers. Two different realizations. One is struck by the Muse. One is sharing why we all sometimes needs to fight to find the Muse, because she's hiding under a pile of paper. One writer is yet to be published, but working hard and on submission. One is an internationally bestselling author. One is on the cusp of becoming the other, and I have no doubt will soon surpass us all.

They're both doing it right.

Both work incredibly hard at their craft, and inspire me daily.

More importantly, both are accomplishing their goals for the day.

Discipline and enlightenment.

These are the two ingredients that make a successful author. They go hand in hand. Without one, the other doesn't matter. You can be inspired, touched on the shoulder by the Muse, but if you don't have the discipline to sit in the chair and pound out the words every day, nothing will come of it. If you have the discipline, the dogged rampant desire to work hard, but can't see the forest for the trees, nothing will come of it.

You need both to be a writer. You need the moments of enlightenment; need to allow yourself to accept the gift when it's presented to you. And you need a method, a habit, to harness those gifts and produce a story.

I'm struck by the balance that we all must seek between the two extremes, between the Necessary Evil that is the writer's To Do List, and the Necessary Good that is the writer's Muse. Take the two pieces and use them for yourself today. And if you have tips on balancing the two, leave them in the comments.