Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Discipline In Writing

I marvel at the way inspiration ebbs and flows in the mind. Some days I can’t stop typing, and words spill over the brim of my thoughts like flood waters. Other times, my brain coagulates like a molasses pool, the words sticking to the sides no matter how hard I try to free them. I have no control on the fluctuation of the muse, except maybe in what I choose to eat or whether I manage sufficient sleep or not. What I do have control over is the consistent attempt to sit in the chair and write. Two words are better than none.

If I have to edit my work anyway, I might as well have something to edit, right? Having a bunch of garbage on the page is comforting because I don’t write perfect works the first time around anyway. I write and then I make it better.

My case here is that our thoughts may not be perfect, but our discipline can be. And the more we practice, the better we become.

So what if our attitude stinks? What if we give up even before we start? You have just as much choice to return to your desk as you do to leave it. The Internet is full of tools that can help us to turn the difficult days into constructive ones. Still, even research can be distracting and take us from the path of getting our words on paper. Write. It’s as simple as that.

I have to set goals of at least X amount of words every day before I shut down the computer.  I don’t have to set unrealistic goals either. My blood pressure rises whenever I read about someone writing 4000 words during a single session. I don’t work that way. I’m a slow writer, so if I choose to meet my goals at 100 words during an hour’s time, I’m okay with that. Do whatever is comfortable for you, but just do it. The practice of disciplining yourself will become habit and you may find at the end of the day you are closer to the finish line than you expected. It’s your choice, but the time to start your discipline is now. Enough said.


adhi das said...

Aloha Peggy Shumway..thanks for sharing an interesting work on writing..GOD<3U

Bonnee Crawford said...

I'm definitely hearing you there, Peggy! If I want to write, I know I actually have to sit myself down and start writing, or else how can I call myself a writer? I don't set myself word goals, though I will generally not be able to stop writing once I've started until I'm convinced I can't write anything else that's worth writing, and that tends to take me a couple of thousand words. Just sitting down and doing it, no matter how much or how little, is good practice for writers, no matter how disciplined or undisciplined.

Peggy Shumway said...

Aloha Adhi. Thanks for stopping by.

Bonnee, I know what you mean about not being able to stop once you start writing. I usually have to quit to go to work or for some other annoying have to. Good to hear from you.

Anonymous said...

Yes so true. It can be hard to write through it, but..o

my journey said...

During the formative years of my becoming a writer, I generally do anything to avoid writing. But, I later found out,that would be my craft and I'm the most exciting critic of my own work. It really hurts me each time then seeing a blank page. And the more that avoid writing, the more I found myself giving in to such a longing to write.

Denise Covey said...

I admire your discipline. I try to write every day but don't beat myself up if I fall short. Other days I'll write heaps. I'm a great believer in rubbishy first drafts and enjoy the editing process.

Nice to meet/follow you.


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