Friday, August 6, 2010

Discipline is a Bitch

I guess I keep writing here--knowing I have no followers:  which means I'm now technically talking to myself, in the hopes that my Field of Dreams experiment will come true:

If you write it, they will come.

To be candid--and let's be honest:  when did you ever know me to not be--I'm slowly realising that it's not the writing a novel that is the hard part; it's not coming up with something fresh and enjoyable for two separate columns every single day; it's not even the self-promotion and feeling dirty when you're done--it's the discipline that eventually knocks you on your bum.  Discipline will very quickly divide the wheat from the chaff.  It will weed out those who only play at becoming writers, and those who are too demented to do anything else.  It will quickly kill any chance you ever had at a social life, and stomp on those who dare knock on your door for dates.  It will keep you from enjoying your family, be they feline or human, and make you sit at the computer when enjoying a rare movie so you can check your blog comments rather than sit in a chair like someone normal.

Simply put:  Discipline is a bitch.

I was introduced to this unique bitch while in college.  Even though I had a natural gift for music and playing the trumpet, piano and singing, I quickly realised that if I wanted to reap any benefits from those pursuits, then I would need to be disciplined.  Discipline quickly became my best friend.  On days when I was too sick to get out of bed, Discipline would yank me by the hair of my head, throw on my clothes, and have me planted at my eight-o'clock German class.  Discipline would keep me at school, some days, until well after midnight, only to get up and do it again the next day.  Then while preparing for my recitals in my junior and senior years, Discipline would promptly plant my butt in the college gym and poolside in order to build up my lung capacity, for junior recitals are just you and a spotlight and accompanist, playing straight for 30-minutes, and senior recitals are the same, but with you playing for an hour.  That, my friends, takes Discipline.  And now that I'm writing full-time and publishing books and short-stories, I've reacquainted myself with Discipline.

But, just like real bitches, if you can stand the pain, then you'll see real truth from it.  Discipline will show you where your weaknesses lie as a writer, and your inherent desire for perfection will push you to fix them.  Discipline will make you voracious about protecting your writing time.  It will keep you from turning on the television for days at a time, which literally means you have more hours available to you in the day.

Of course, once or twice this week I was able to sneak under Discipline's radar.  I got a lot done!  I rent a room in my landlady's home, so while she's been on vacation this week, I have been keeper-of-the-canine, and with him being a German Shepard/Husky mix, he's required a lot of my attention.  I've also cooked a few good meals for myself, and came up with "DJ Squeak," her cat's new rap name.  So you see, it wasn't all fun and games.

But, discipline always finds me and drags me back.  Because I've learned that discipline's rewards are many.  It means more prolific writing.  It means becoming better at your craft.  It means increased chops.  Which then means more book sales, which leads to more money for cat food.  And trust me:  that can never be a bad thing.

And now it's time for me to sign off so I can sit down to work on my novel, before my one weekly indulgence that Discipline allows me:  FlashPoint.

So.  Have you made friends with Discipline yet?

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