Discipline: for most this word brings a strong reaction. Images of a Drill Sargent barking commands, leaving no option but to obey or face consequences. How does writing require discipline? Does writing not depend upon a person's inspired mind to create new worlds and share new ideas with their readers? How can one possibly force creativity into a place of discipline? The very idea seems counter-intuitive. Most writers fear if they force their writing, it will become stale and lack a genuine voice.
Is it even possible to write with inspiration within the parameters of discipline? I think the question to ask instead should be, how to allow discipline to inspire your writing? Because lets face it, if you don't sit down to put words to paper, you aren't writing, no matter how inspired you may feel. In order to achieve this, the word discipline needs a new tone, a newer meaning. Discipline needs to stop being a method to force yourself into doing that what is difficult. Discipline, for a writer needs to become a method through which a space is formed. A space where you allow yourself to put that which has taken shape in your mind onto paper in a readable manner.
"You need three things to become a successful novelist: talent, luck and discipline. Discipline is the one element of those three things that you can control, and so that is the one that you have to focus on controlling, and you just have to hope and trust in the other two." — Michael Chabon
Discipline is essential in the writing process. The more I write the more I am convinced of this. Discipline in writing means, identifying your distractions and eliminating things that while important do not need to be that minutes priority. Discipline is protecting your space by carving out time in your schedule to write, no matter what. Discipline is sitting with a blank paper knowing it it will only get filled one word at a time, then taking the risk to write the first word. Discipline is taking the time to edit, rethink, rewrite, throw away and start over. Discipline is getting feedback when the last thing you want to hear is that your writing could be improved. Discipline allows your words to form into something beautiful, from the raw material in your head.
Most writers have "real" lives that sadly demand our attention more than our writing does. Discipline for those of us, who have to push hard to find the time to write is essential most of all. Too many things become more important and while I believe that writing is not the total purpose for myself on this planet, I also believe that is essential enough to ensure I have the time to do so.
Guard your time, and do not be afraid to become more disciplined. Write on my friends!
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