Thursday, July 7, 2011

Discipline and Writing

Writing is hard. Anyone who tells you it's easy is lying. Writing is hard.

This blog post has taken me hours because I have no self-control when it comes to distractions. I've listened to a podcast, talked to my sister, been on Skype with my girlfriend, sent out tweets. Anything BUT face this blank digital canvas.

If I have a deadline I am all set. I never miss a deadline. I'm compulsive about it. I usually have things finished early, actually. I have gone two semesters of school without a single late homework assignment. I'm not bragging, it's actually a sickness. Some form of OCD I'm sure. Could probably be treated with some mind-altering drug if I was into those.

When I don't have a deadline, however, I don't write. I have three novels I'm currently hopping between and every once in awhile I find a day that I write like a madwoman for hours on end, but most of the time they just take up space in my backpack. I occasionally gaze at them with guilt as I turn on a sitcom or pick up a novel.

I've done some research into developing discipline as writers. It appears I am truly not alone in this. Many writers tend to procrastinate. Nearly every website and book that talks about this posts the same six steps:

1. Set up a writing schedule
2. Write every day
3. Set goals
4. Keep a calendar of deadlines
5. Keep a journal
6. Join a writing workshop

If I could follow through with steps 1-4 I would be all set. Self-discipline is not an easy thing to develop and though all of these ideas appear to be good ones on paper, they are harder to execute than one would think .

I want to know where those characters I've written about are going, yet I can't seem to take them there.

Step 5, I have kept a journal for over fifteen years. I have kept a series of blogs/online journals for at least the last ten or eleven years. This is easy. It doesn't make me produce anything good, however.

6... this is the one I've never tried. This is likely my next stop. I enjoyed workshops in my creative writing class last semester. I like seeing my work through other's eyes and sharing with like-minded folks. So maybe I'll spend this morning looking for a workshop group?

Stephen Dietz (author of the play "Fiction") wrote that writers like the idea of solitude. We think that's what we need to find inspiration. Once we have it, however, we find ourselves unable to write. I need to stop seeking solitude for inspiration, and instead seek out social situations that will inspire. Because when it comes down to it, I love to write, even when it isn't easy.

Or maybe that's just one more excuse to not write...

No comments:

Post a Comment