It's been a long, grinding journey to get here, and one that seemed at times impossible. Have all the things I've written been amazing, worthy of publishing for money? Of course not, nor was that ever the intent. Just as the regular lifting of weights is almost never considered when admiring the physical form they produce, so this exercise of putting pen to paper—or in my case, characters to screen—has been about the steady, disciplined practice of writing.
One of my hobbies is running, and when I run it's in looping ellipses on a standard 400-meter athletic track. I do up to sixteen laps of that rubberized circuit, three times a week, usually around dawn and always alone. When I started, it felt like it was one of the most horrible, mind-numbing things that I could be doing with my time, outside of regular employment. In the face of game development, writing, playing videogames, sleeping, or any of the other activities that I could choose to make up my day, the pounding 'round and 'round seemed to be the worst choice. Yet slowly, over time, I learned to appreciate the process, and to feel each stride as a focused step forward in a kind of meditative self-improvement. I discovered the joy in it, so much so that I now look forward to the hours I spend on running in those circles. So it's become with the writing: what was once an oftentimes dreadful grind has now become a task that I approach with zeal. The ideas might not always flow with ease, but after 365 sessions there's so much precedent to look back on that it's become impossible to sit there and say "I can't do it", because I have done it, hundreds of times. That's the sort of empowerment that true disciplined practice will grant.