The Overall Plan of the Blog Series "The Value of Power"
Before releasing the next part of Chapter Three, I find it necessary, for my own organization and for my fear of you feeling organized while reading such a dispersed and drawn out blog-style philosophical tome, to give a general structure of the chapters and upcoming topics involved in the project.
So, subject to many changes of course, here is a general table of contents.
The Value of Power
Table of Contents
Chapter One: Evolution, Devolution, and Other Political Possibilities
Contains 3 parts and deals with the basic problems and ideas of meaningful political change.
Chapter Two: The Value of Autonomy in Relation to Personal Power - The Origins of Citizen X
Contains 5 parts and deals with the ontological and epistemic status of the politicized phenomenological agent.
Chapter Three: Relational Materialism and Citizen X
Contains 5 parts and deals with distribution, personal and political power and the ontology of the political state.
Chapter Four: Distribution and Political Justice in a Relational Materialist Frame
Contains 5 parts and deals with Iris Young's argument against distributive models and my reply to her argument.
Chapter Five: Domination and Dependence - The Value of Power
Contains 5 parts and deals with the role of power in the phenomenology of the political agent.
Chapter Six: Power and Resistance - The Value of Citizen X
Contains 5 parts and deals with resistance to oppressive political practices and assumptions.
Chapter Seven: Relational Materialism and Practical Theory
Contains 5 parts and deals with prescriptive measures and practical ideas for meaningful political change.
As mentioned, this is all subject to modification and updates as I move forward with this project.
My intention is to finish this blog series by early 2015. Once finished, I will take this blog, add to it, change and edit what needs to be changed and edited, and release the longer, more detailed, updated version in both print and ebook formats.
Thank you for your interest and I always appreciate your comments and thoughts.
Cheers, Viva, Devrim!!
David Edward Wagner
Philosophy: Chapter Three - Part Two: Relational Materialism and Citizen XRead Now
Relational Materialism and Citizen X
In Part One of this chapter I made several large claims important to the upcoming discussions. Allow me to briefly summarize and categorize the main points.
Main Claims from Chapter Three- Part One
Phenomenology is the study of individual experience and this includes both the first person point of view of an experiencing “I” and the structure of the experience itself. All experiences are Intentional, a technical term meaning they are ‘directed at’ or ‘about’ something, most notably other experiencing individuals and the shared Lifeworld of culture, history, and belief.
While the discipline of phenomenology certainly has influenced political philosophy, a full systemic account of political philosophy in a phenomenological frame has not yet been developed. My project is to do just that for both theoretical and practical reasons.
To do this, I will base my argument around “Citizen X,” my term for the politicized phenomenological agent. Agency importantly involves embodied action in the external world while Politicization involves the inclusion of the experiencing individual as a member of some socio-political group and the structure supporting sociopolitical inclusion.
My phenomenological system is termed Relational Materialism and based on what I understand as a fundamental phenomenological relationship between agents, as both individuals and groups, and the sociopolitical state, I argue that sociopolitical power is usefully conceived within an alternative “distributive” model.
Now to move forward.
Moving Forward: An Alternative Distributive-based Model
In the past, distributive models/descriptions of social relations have been controversial and have been argued against by many philosophers including an important and influential argument against it by Iris Marion Young. As I move forward, I will use Young’s arguments explicitly in the construction of my own model. However, for now, the remainder of this blog entry will be devoted to explaining some of the intricacies of my account of distribution in contemporary liberal society.
To understand what I mean by my claim that “sociopolitical power is usefully conceived within an alternative distributive model,” two things must be explained.
First, what exactly is ‘distribution’ and what does it consist of?
Two, how does distribution fit with my phenomenological model of Relational Materialism.
In general, distribution involves the division and allotment of material and immaterial goods, services, and resources within a given territory and population. A territory and its population is a broad definition of a contemporary sociopolitical state, and each state follows some particular distributive scheme.
The primary purpose of any distributive system is to satisfy the wants, needs, and demands for services, goods, and resources within a territory.
“Services” are intangible economic activities, examples of which are haircuts, taxicabs, or ‘expertise’ such as visiting a doctor or a financial advisor.
Services contrast with “goods,” generally physical items that satisfy some want, utility, or need. More accurately, goods can be tangible (an apple, a car) or, increasingly, intangible, for example, information or news that is distributed through some physical instrument such as a newspaper or computer.
Goods that are limited relative to demand are termed ‘economic’ goods (cars, computers), contrasted with ‘free’ goods, goods needed by society and available without limit, such as water or air. However, clean air and water are more recently considered (controversially so) ‘common goods,’ as competition over them has become rivalrous.
Private goods can be privately owned, such as a car. Public goods, by contrast, are non-rivalrous; the light from a streetlight or national defense are examples.
From this all-too-brief distributive primer, I want to take three specific ideas.
First, it is not distorting or surprising to understand ‘goods,’ in a practical and academic sense, as intangibles, as actions manifested and marketed. Goods and services alike have recognized intangible elements adjoined to corresponding physical relationships. A massage is an idea and an action marketed and commodified in the form of merchandise, professionals, and specialists. “Taxi” is an idea made concrete in driver, car, and cab company.
Second, that values are created and that “valuing” relates directly to “devaluing.”
Third, that these intangible and manufactured elements of distribution are relational, that is, they occur in relationships between some particular agent and some external element. I will develop this claim further over the next several chapters.
Simple and Complex, Conceptual Idealism and Actual Realism
There are two broad views of the equal distribution of goods in a society: Simple and Complex. Though there are various arguments and camps within each of these schemes, they all fall within this basic delineation.
Simple Equality ideally demands goods are to be distributed evenly, in equal, uniform manners. Each individual gets the same amount of each ‘good’ in morally and materially considered ways; an egalitarian land of enough and as good as.
Complex equality says there is more to it than that. There are circumstances that have true effect on the egalitarian aspirations of our distributive system.
My understanding is that we, as embodied politicized phenomenological agents, or more simply, as “material agents” or just “agents,” exist in a material world where the structure of our sociopolitical requires, necessarily I might add, a complex description of distribution.
We do not live behind a Rawlsian veil that would blind us to differences in social station, background, assumption or convention, and we are not unencumbered by the realities that these differences present to us. We see who and what we are, and we are weighed down with the cumbersome accumulation of histories, decisions, social mores, and consequences.
Thus the ideal, that all social goods be distributed to the benefit of the least-advantaged member of the particular society, Rawls’ conception of the ‘Difference Principle,’ is an egalitarian response to the actuality of our complex social relations. It acknowledges that there is more to the heart of our situation than what can be salvaged from pragmatically untenable simple conceptions of absolute uniformity of distribution.
The locus of the political
Something important is brought to light with Rawls’ Difference Principle, something inherent in all sociopolitical theorizing including my own.
There is a fundamental distinction to be made between Ideal and Actual: it is an ontological difference of priority. The Ideal is a rational construct, it is a formalized construct of reasoned experience. Ideal theory asks for a priori categorization, how could things be if stripped of the actuality of material experience. It is a theory of concepts, a theory of theories. Passive and disconnected, Ideal theory is the theory of the concept of theories.
The Actual, in contrast, is the theory of the concept of action. It is materially based, embodied, the experience itself, not the categorization of the experience. Actual theory is ontologically based in the phenomonologcal world, the world of experience and the structures of experience. It is therefore active; it is the act of experiencing.
Ideal theory is ontologically based in the deliberations and judgments of the phenomenological consciousness, logically subsequent to and comparatively more passive than the act of the experience itself.
The Actual is prior to the Ideal, it is what brings the ideal to being. It is ontologically prior in two ways. One, that a “material agent” must exist and sustain considerable experience before conceptual categorization can occur. Two, that the “material world” exists independently from the agent and it is the agent’s coming into being and out of being within this external ‘lifeworld’ that frames the accumulation of ideal concepts.
A common element in contemporary liberal theory is exemplified by Rawls’ principle of equalizing social differentiations, that as veiled and unencumbered agents, we can ask that our political paradigm be legitimated with the Ideal as the ontological starting point.
The Ideal is a proper place for postulating and theorizing, but the actual drafting of our practices should not come from an ideal vantage point. The questions of Idealism are commonly “how” and “why,” Rawls’ own question was how can we create an equality of distribution because some people have nothing while others have too much.
However, before answers to “how” and “why” can be meaningfully solved there is a prior question that needs dealing with. “How can we become equal and move closer to the ultimate level playing field” depends first on the prior inquiry: “what is causing the disharmonious relationships in our systems, economic, political, and social, and what actual decisions can we recognize as disharmonious to the whole, and can therefore choose to change in fundamental ways?”
This is a question of Actual theory, of Realism, of material concern.
As I want to wrap up this blog entry at the fear of running too long and/or digressing too fully, I want to make one more summarizing statement and then conclude.
Relational Materialism is Actual theory, ontologically based in the active world of experience. The sociopolitical questions I want to raise deal with the activity of experiencing agents and the Lifeworld we have created.
Before any type of prescriptive/descriptive analysis of "why" any particular capital-based liberal state is facing the contemporary problems it faces or "how" those problems can be alleviated, the questions of “what is a contemporary state qua state,” and “what is the structure of a state qua state” must both be answered.
Those two questions will form the bulk of the next many months of my philosophy blog entries.
As I mentioned previously, a state is a political entity and ‘politics’ deals importantly with decision making. Thus, as I will begin to discuss in the very next entry, Politics is a matter of Power: power in the society we have constructed and live in, power in relation to the power of others, in relation to our own histories and our shared experiences, power in relation to other necessary social goods: nourishment, shelter, health, security and, perhaps, a good life. And these things are, to be certain, fundamentally political concerns.
As always, I encourage you to leave comments, to argue and ask, as I may have very well skipped over things, not explained things, or otherwise not clarified myself. Also, perhaps you don't agree or maybe you even do, for whatever reason at all, I hope you feel free to comment and continue the discussion.
 The United States utilizes a mixed distributive scheme and economy, blending elements of a free, unrestrained, privately owned capitalist market with state-owned public goods and regulatory measures.
Philosophy: Chapter Three- Part One: Relational Materialism and Citizen XRead Now
Relational Materialism and Citizen X
In this blog entry, I will begin discussing the idea of and need for a phenomenological model of political philosophy. I will also begin explaining the structure of Citizen X, the politicized subjective agent, and the details of X’s relationship with the external world.
What is a phenomenological model of political philosophy? This is a good question. First, a few concepts and ideas:
- The core notion of Phenomenology is that it is the study (logos) of phenomena (appearance of things, things as they appear to us in our experience, the ways we experience them). Put simply, it is the study of experience and the structure of that experience.
- Importantly, Phenomenology studies experience from a subjective and first person point of view (I do, I see, to my left, beside me, etc.).
- Phenomenology studies the structure of various types of experience including perception, thought, memory, imagination, emotion, desire, volition to body awareness, embodied action, and social activity including linguistic activity.
- The structure of an experience involves its Intentionality, its being directed towards something, the simple fact that it is an experience of or about some object. In phenomenology, Intentionality is a technical term and should not be confused with the more standard idea we have of intention.
- Concerning Intentionality, Husserl claimed that our conscious experience is directed towards (represents, ‘intends’) objects/things only through particular concepts thoughts, ideas, images, etc. These make up the ‘meaning’ or ‘content’ of a given experience and they are distinct from the things they present or mean. So, the tree you see in the park is distinct from the general concept of ‘tree’.
- The idea of ‘Lifeworld’: Intersubjectivity (relations between agents) forms the basis of the shared external lifeworld (as termed by Husserl). The lifeworld can be thought of in two ways. One, in the beliefs of the single agent, the rational structure underlying their everyday experience, the beliefs against which his/her everyday attitude towards him/her self, the objective world, and other agents receive their ultimate justification. Two, as the full realm of socially, culturally, or evolutionarily established concepts of general structure (motion, spatial shapes, causality) that groups or collectives of agents conceive of their world through. This includes language and the basic shared nature of a common external world that allows translation of languages and ideas between historically or culturally distinct lifeworlds.
- The two leading figures in the formation of the phenomenological method and discipline, Husserl and Heidegger, utilized distinct approaches. Briefly, the bulk of Husserl’s work concerned transcendental phenomenology and was epistemological in nature (concerning knowledge and the cogito), while Heidegger’s work concerned a more existential phenomenology that was ontological in nature (concerning being).
These ideas will be discussed in greater detail as we move forward in this blog series and they are presented here briefly to simply get us going. Please feel free to ask questions, add your own ideas, or whatever you want in the form of comments. I look forward to them.
My notion of Citizen X
To explain what I want to do by formalizing a systemic phenomenological account of political philosophy, I must first add the basics of my conception of Citizen X to the all-to-brief phenomenology primer given above.
Citizen X is the ‘politicized phenomenological agent.’ This description has three components, so let us look quickly at each with the promise of getting into greater depth and detail in the course of this multi-blog entry chapter.
I understand “agency” as the capacity to make and impose choices in the world; an agent is one who acts. This action, as fundamentally a capacity, is ontologically based in the phenomenological subject, the individual, the “agent” who may only act to the extent that she is able to with self-deliberation and empowerment. Ideally, an “agent” maintains the capacity to express her personal power with no limitations and with complete self-authored deliberation.
However, as described in Chapter Two of this blog series, practical limitations to “agency” exist in the simple fact of physical and social reality, and acknowledgement of these empirical conditions negates the usefulness of ideal theories, requiring practical theory to base itself in material paradigms.
A phenomenological agent is an experiencing agent, a subjective consciousness with a first person point of view of the external world around him/her, including other subjective agents.
Since the phenomenological experience is embodied, it occurs through a physical, living, existing conscious body, I feel the proper term to describe the embodied experience is through the concept of the "phenomenological agent."
Finally, the ‘Political’ refers to the processes of social relations: decision-making, state action, power structures, and the cultural habits, assumptions, and practices of distinct and diverse communities.
‘Politicized’ then means the action, process, or result of making something political. In this case, it is the action, process, or result of making the subjective phenomenological agent into a political being.
In my conception of a phenomenological system of political philosophy, I understand two main ideas. One, that an individual experience of the external world necessarily involves both transcendental (a priori, intangible) structure and materialistic (a posteriori, tangible) structure. Two, that both the transcendental and materialistic aspects of any experience are affected by and effect the politicization of the shared external world.
What is the need for a phenomenological system of political philosophy?
A limit has been reached in political philosophy, and this limit, I claim, is exposed in the growing body of research based in “relational” paradigms, examples of which I include, among others, Michel Foucault, Iris Young, Marina Oshana, and Judith Butler. I do not claim these authors necessarily agree or always share views, however I understand that the basic mechanism at work in each one’s general theory as “relation-based.” Further, in this relational model it is stressed that these relationships, in the sociopolitical context, fundamentally have become domineering and oppressive.
By emphasizing the material context of oppressive relationships of sociopolitical power, I understand that every exercise of power has three elements, the capacity to act, the actual exercised action, and some form or forms of resistance to the exercise. The capacity to act hinges on the phenomenology of the agent, how her experience is structured as a conscious “I.” This in turn hinges on the agent’s relation to the external world. The choices and actions an agent recognizes as open to her are deeply shaped by sociopolitical conditions, that is, the conditions concerning an agent’s social and political circumstances.
Based on what I understand as a fundamental phenomenological relationship between agents, as both individuals and groups, and the sociopolitical state, I argue that sociopolitical power is usefully conceived in an alternative “distributive” model, termed “relational materialism.” Distribution involves materially satisfying the needs and wants of a populace in any social arrangement. Two important mechanisms are involved in the action of distribution at the sociopolitical scale, control and valuation. I argue that these mechanisms are not necessarily oppressive. However, in the contemporary liberal state, the systemic abuse of these mechanisms by capital-based liberal ideology results in a deep and diverse normatively justified state of sociopolitical domination.
These ideas then will be the guiding motivations and directions future entries in this blog series will take, beginning with the upcoming Chapter Three Part Two where I discuss the concept and problems of Power. I will talk about personal and socio-political power as well as going into my conception of Citizen X in greater detail.
Please leave your comments, questions, or the like in the comment section. I look forward to starting a meaningful dialog with you all.
The Benefits of Writing in Different Styles and Formats
by David Edward Wagner
Many times I have been asked by fellow readers and writers alike, what are my thoughts on writing in various formats and styles, moving from screenplays to novels to short stories to poetry and song lyrics. From Drama to Comedy to Science Fiction or Action. Do I do it, should they do it, what are the upsides and downsides of literary promiscuousness?
My answers are always the same: yes I do, yes you should, and there are certainly positive and negative possibilities inherent in the act of authorial wantonness. In this blog entry, I will go into a bit more detail on these replies than I might go into during a typical friendly conversation.
The Idea of Writing in Different Formats and Styles
Generally, writers write many different things. There are novels and novellas, short stories, poems, prose, screenplays, flash fiction, stage plays, song lyrics, magazine articles, advertising text, journals, reviews, and blogs (to name but a portion). And while it is generally given that most writers do at least dabble in writing in multiple formats, as I can really think of no copy writers who have not at least started their first novel and very few novelists who have not banged out the occasional short story or poem, the question under consideration here is a bit more than just that.
I am asking if a writer should consciously, deliberately, and consistently, work in various formats, moving between novels and screenplays and short stories and blogs, poems, flash, and so on. I will answer yes, yes the writer should.
The Advantages of Writing in Multiple Formats
At the risk of being over-simplistic, I will be thorough.
Most basically, a writer puts words on paper (or, sure, digital word documents), and preferably puts as many down as possible in the course of their life. Those words are tied to the ideas in their head and those ideas are tied to the imagination and experiences they have built and nurtured. So, in a general and fundamental way, whatever you write, however you write it, only adds to your ability, only strengthens your capability and fortifies your capacity to produce pages. That is good.
Second, another basic thought, different ideas seem to call for different manifestations. The painter switches between color palates, canvas size, and artistic intention, the musician has ballads and rockers, and a multitude of instrumentation combinations and subject matters, so, in this vein, the writer has any number of literary delivery mechanisms available in their arsenal and why should anything be denied? Why should that burst of rhyming meter be discarded just because you are a ‘serious’ screenwriter? That idea perfect for a thousand word flash fiction piece be ignored, stretched thin, or watered down only because anything under fifty-thousand words is a waste of time and energy?
Nothing should be ignored, nothing should be passed aside simply because it is not something you have done before or are familiar with. Chances must be taken, paths must be followed, evolution must occur. Get the ideas out in the format and fashion they naturally want to be in and, worse case scenario, do not publish or publicly offer the results. Simply not writing them only limits experience and potential.
Third, and related to the second, a writer is a creative laborer, they do heavy and, dare I say, important work with their inspiration and time. In itself, I propose art contains intrinsic value and should be pursued simply for it’s a priori value, however, as we do inhabit a material, political, monetary-based social system, abstract, philosophical value does not pay the bills, buy the food, or put the roof over our heads.
Economic value must be added to your work, and in a general practical sense, value is added to products in a capital-based economy in several ways, most basically with the mechanisms of necessity, availability, and reputation. Bluntly and all-to-briefly, I will address these by saying, necessity in writing refers to originality of content uniqueness of voice: you are necessarily the only one who can do what you do, you have a monopoly on your personal voice. The only way to develop your one-of-a-kind style and literary voice is to write it out, work through your limitations, and develop the confidence to be free to say what you want to say in the exact way you want to say it.
Availability is basically what it says: you must get your work out there in as many ways and places as you want. People need to be able to find your art, see your art, stumble upon your art, hear about it, be introduced to it, and just generally have opportunities to notice it. Getting your name and work out to a wide variety of potential fans requires an equally broad realm of distribution and venue, something writing in multiple formats, styles, and genres can provide.
Last and most squirrely is the concept of reputation. As this is a ‘Writer to Writer’ blog and not a ‘Philosophy’ blog, I will do my best to keep this section short (please check out my ongoing philosophy blog for upcoming entries featuring the power of reputation). Here and now I will say this: reputation is an important component of social power and autonomy, and the opportunities afforded by a strong reputation are revolutionary for the artistic soul. To build reputation you must put out quality work at a consistent pace, you must be inspired, professional, distinctly creative, and you must be recognized as being these. Every word in every authorial method can only add to your total package and can only help you develop your artistic reputation.
However, always remember, only let the public see your best work, do not put anything and everything you write out to the available audiences. Keep writing, try different things, learn the various formats and styles, push yourself to try new things in new ways, work on the virtuosity of your profession and verse yourself in the possibilities of your own creative processes.
Everything is an opportunity to write better and more efficiently and should be on the table for potential use. In fact, some of the most important lessons I learned in writing my novels have come from studying and writing flash fiction, the sparseness and directness, the economy of words and focusing of force. Developing a visual-style of song writing informed my personal writing voice, preferring to develop a certain lyrical flow in my prose and many times writing to some unconscious beat in my head.
Writing screenplays, studying plot beats and describing visual events within the strict formatting restrictions of writing for film certainly has influenced my short stories, novellas, and novels, just as they in turn have affected my ability to plot and embolden my screenwriting.
And, lest we forget, many (nay, all) professional markets require you to include some combination and type of synopsis, cover letter, query, or the like, and writing a good letter or synopsis is an art in itself. The more you write them, the more adept you will become at writing them, and the more different variations on the same form you can produce is only helping you hone your skill.
Everything you get from mind onto paper helps season you and make you more valuable as an artist, so do it, Do not hesitate, write what you need to write how you need to write it and then offer the best of what you have. Be brave and creative, nurture your experience, become a master.
Plus, to be plain, its fun. I love books, I love movies, I love short stories and flash, and on top of everything else, I love to do things I love. So I do it, I write anything I think of in everyway I can, and since you asked, I can only hope that you love it too and I would encourage you to follow your heart, mind, and inspiration.
The Disadvantages of Writing in Various Styles and Formats
I will mention two problematic disadvantages of writing in various formats, styles, and genres.
The first is the problem of being the proverbial jack of all trades and master of none. The trouble inherent in this idiom speaks for itself. If you dabble in many things, you will never master one of them, just develop adequate adeptness at several things. Too this I say, there is an element of truth in there and there is an undeniable amount of sustained focus that must be given one thing to truly master it, but before all, before worrying about what you write, just remember that you write. You are mastering writing, artistic expression, and that is what is important. You are working on becoming the best writer you can be, what you write is a second matter entirely. Just write things, finish things, edit things. Each thing you write will come easier and better, push forward, stretch yourself, challenge yourself to learn the advantages and disadvantages of each thing, try to see things, get feedback, try.
It is eventual that you will settle into your sweet spot over time, finding those things that work best for you and carrying the lessons of the rest. Myself, I know I am a novelist and screenwriter now. And in between large projects, I have time for and need for banging out the occasional flash piece, short story, or song lyric. I take my time and edit them as I go, when they are cleaned up I take the best ones and submit them, getting my name out, making connections. Some I post on my blog.
Writing in different formats, genres and styles helps you master the one thing of being a writer, and in the course you develop ideas and experience from your jack of all trading, and you will sort out for yourself the focus your career will take.
Second, many people say: if I write a million things, I will never finish anything. I will have sloppy flash pieces and half done screenplays and half done novels and so on. This worry is amazingly real and widespread, yet I do not feel it has to do specifically with writing in various manners. Most writers do not finish things, from beginning to end to second, third, fourth, fifth and however many drafts. That is a hard truth.
Starting, sustaining, and finishing multiple projects at once requires dedication, organization, and an achievable plan and schedule. I know people who have never finished their one novel and I know people who knock out several screenplays and a novel each year. It’s not what, its how and the answer is, as stated previously, dedication, organization, and an achievable plan and schedule.
My own recent experience shall serve as an example.
I finished my second novel in October. Right after the push and stress of self-publishing and releasing it, I had a relatively blank slate ahead of me. During the in-between times of working full time only upon the novel for six months straight, I would jot down ideas for stories and screenplays. When the novel release was behind me, I just began working on the new ideas that seemed most compelling to me at the moment. Taking notes, plotting out, developing characters, writing opening scenes and first chapters, dancing around a bit until I naturally settled into a groove with five projects, two novels, two screenplays, and my blog. After three months of easily flowing with all of them, getting deeper into them in everyway, I realized, quite naturally, that it was time to focus down even more, really get serious and think about finishing things. So…
I thought of the time frame and my larger-life schedule and trimmed down my work projects as thus: One novel was projected at fifty-thousand words and would take five months to write at most, the other novel was projected for one hundred-thousand words and would take over a year to finish. Screenplays take the same amount of time to write regardless of their size, and for me they take about four to five months to complete on average, each one I write dropping the time it takes me to complete one. Regardless, I chose the screenplay I was most into at the moment and the shorter of the two novels, knowing that in in a handful of months I could have two completed projects and have two more waiting for me, already too far into to be discarded or ignored. While I am writing the long novel, I will do edits on the shorter one, eventually dancing between the two as the drafting gets deeper.
Things must be finished and finished properly if you are to be successful in any way, and that takes time. You have to use your time wisely, efficiently, and always with some planning. You are a writer, a self-employed, self-sustaining artistic entity, you are a business of one, and your reputation only comes by treating yourself as such. Put in the time, focus yourself within a larger overall goal, and get things done. All the way done.
This entry is long so allow me to briefly wrap up.
Write as often as you can. Write whatever you can. Finish things. Edit things.