Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Lonely Writer Part 4 :: Complete Discipline

This is the fourth part of the series "The Lonely Writer". At this point I would like to recap why this series is called The Lonely Writer, because this installment on complete discipline is directly relevant.

Writers sometime struggle in tapping creativity because the act of writing, unlike many of the things we do in life, is a solitary practice. Nobody does your writing for you; you alone are responsible. And to be completely honest, sometimes that's a tall order...one that can get in the way of your writing.

When we speak of complete discipline, however, it can be easily confused with punishment, parenting, or even pain. The type of discipline we are talking about here, though, has to deal with the ability to focus and follow through. In any solitary event, sometimes the mind can wander. Sometimes the body starts to wander as well. For instance, how many times have you been writing something and, before you knew it, you were watching the television...or surfing the internet...or IMing with someone?

These things happen. Writing is a lonely practice, you don't have someone there to work with you in maintaining focus. That is why complete discipline takes on such an important role in writing and your ability to tap your creativity. When you take your eye off the ball, so to speak, you lose focus and the next thing you know, you end up like Theo Huxtable.

Theo is using the excuse of being normal to make it alright to not be as accomplished as his parents. His father, however, knows that Theo's excuse is bunk and makes it clear to Theo that doing your best leads to success. Making excuses for why it's okay to not stay focused and try harder is unacceptable. Doing your best, and showing complete discipline in what you do is what will lead to success...however you define success.

So how do you exercise complete discipline? After all, that's what this post is all about, right?


Whenever you notice your mind start to wander, bring your focus back to the writing. Whenever you find yourself sitting at the keys and looking over your screen at the television, bring your focus back to the writing. Whenever you find yourself getting up to start a load of laundry or setting up the coffee maker, bring your focus back to the writing. It doesn't have to be painful, and you don't have to get down on yourself. It can take practice. Complete discipline is the ability to stay on task and always keep coming back when you wander.

This will get more writing done. And, as you know, writing is like a muscle: the more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes. It also makes tapping creativity easier.

Related Posts:
The Lonely Writer :: An Introduction
The Lonely Writer Part 1 :: Less Desire
The Lonely Writer Part 2 :: Contentment
The Lonely Writer Part 3 :: Avoiding Unnecessary Activity
The Lonely Writer Part 5 :: Not Wandering in the World of Desire
The Lonely Writer Part 6 :: Not Seeking Security from Discursive Thoughts

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