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“Discipline” is oftentimes a bad word to an artist or a creative person. I think of myself as a creative person, but discipline – in several areas of my life, certainly not all – is something that I have mastered. If you are serious about any craft or passion in life, you do need some kind of discipline. And that includes discipline with writing.
It is easy to plod along in life and wait for things to happen to you…or near you…in order get inspiration or ideas for stories. But another very valuable asset in unearthing ideas is the art of writing discipline.
For Christmas, my daughter gave me a writing prompt journal. It was a very thoughtful gift because it combines two things that I love: writing and discipline.
I used to wait for inspiration to hit me over the head, so honestly not much writing ever happened on any kind of regular basis. Sometimes, I’d sit down and just start writing a poem with no particular reason forcing me to do so, and ideas and heart and pieces of me inside would spread out over an entire page…poem complete. When I wrote Scout’s Honor, it started out because of inspiration, but as I began churning out page after page, and the story took shape, I needed discipline to finish it. There were times when I had no idea where I was going with it – the story started to write itself in parts.
Inspiration is fleeting – it hits you in the face and then runs away. But it is the discipline that brings out what is inside of you – all of it just sitting there in the shadows, immune to your inspirational moment.
When I began to work on expanding my personal writing, I decided to add in the (three times per week) discipline of writing this blog. I hope that it will help other new writers and authors like me who are trying to figure all of this out. The three times a week blogging commitment that I’ve made – whether or not anyone actually reads my blog or gains anything from it – is mostly a form of self discipline. It helps me write out what I’m doing, what I’ve done and figure out if it is working for me. It forces me to think deeper about how I’m spending my time on my book and other writing. It makes me engage more online and seek out others like me.
Find ways to discipline your writing so that it can help you maximize your time, ideas and inspiration. Whether it be writing in a journal or a blog or letter writing or scheduling a time each morning to write a poem or a chapter or X number of words, do it. Treat it like exercise, eating, sleeping – make it a part of all you do. You will be surprised what hidden treasures are within you that otherwise would have remained buried.