Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Discipline and the Insecure Writer

Today is the monthly meeting of the IWSG - that`s the Insecure Writers Support Group. 
I`m going to write about the virtue of discipline. Discipline is what needs to be developed in order to achieve one`s goals as an artist. In this case I`m going to be discussing the need to develop a discipline for writing. And the need for it to be YOUR discipline - not someone else`s. Recently I took part in a drawing course - one of several over a year. This last one was thirty days long and the idea was that if I could draw daily for a month my discipline would be set. Those that know me know that there is very little I`m willing to do every day. No. That`s not exactly right. I`m just usually not willing to commit to doing something every day. Except brush my teeth.  Despite this I have, in the past few years, managed to lead a fairly disciplined life. But I have to be the one to decide the parameters. When I finished the thirty days I did not draw every day. I drew about what I`d been doing for the last couple of years - which is mostly every day. I would say that I went down a bit. Yes. And this was a course that was, without a doubt, the best course on anything I`ve ever received. The teacher was (and presumably is still) an utterly fantastic teacher - generous, knowledgeable, kind, and pushy. All good except that my rebel child took some kind of offence at being told I had to do my practice every day in order to consider myself serious. That`s why my drawing practice became reduced. Now, I know this sounds just plain silly - but I`m nearly 64 years old and I actually know my particular quirky brain pretty well. I`m now building up my drawing practice again but slowly and with no judgement. I have a couple of other practices I like to attend to. One is meditating and I am able to do that every day. Because I told myself to do that - no one else has. Oh, it has been suggested, strongly suggested, but never told. For about a year I wrote and mailed a letter every day. I like to walk for at least 20 minutes a day. And of course there is the writing. I haven`t looked at my writing for a couple of weeks now. Once I knew I wasn`t going to meet my Oct. 20th goal and I went off on my trip to see my kids and grandchild, I just stopped. Hopefully, as you read this - I will have had two days back in the saddle. That`s the plan and I`ve figured out how and when to do it. But, again, it is my plan and I do not feel less of a serious writer because I suffer these lapses. I do not lose the plot, my connection to the story, or any of a number of dire things that I`ve heard really excellent writers espouse for those who don`t keep their daily habit up. Nope. The main thing that happens is that I don`t get where I`m going as fast as I plan to. Ah well. Maybe if I didn`t have a job that not only took up my days, but also required a lot of attention when I`m supposedly off, I could be more disciplined. I doubt it though. One thing that I`ve learned in my practice as a therapist is that the main learning we humans need to accomplish, before anything else, is an acceptance of our own delicious quirky selves. Still working on it but woman oh woman, I`m getting better.

You can look forward to me finally finishing what I hope will be one of the very last drafts of Bright Angel this fall.

Last Minute Update: Will definitely be finishing this draft probably by the end of the week. Also, I joined in with the NaNo Nonsense and have 7 thousand words already (will probably have closer to ten when you are reading this). Oh, this is fun!

8 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

I think you've hit on something really important, Jan! Discipline needs to be one's own discipline, or it doesn't work. I think we need to set goals, and work regularly to achieve them; there is so much good in that on a lot of levels. But they have to be our goals, and we have work out or own ways to get there.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I too will have lapses in my writing routine but it doesn't bother me because I believe in myself and my work and my talent. I also believe there are other things a writer does to fuel the creative engine besides the actual act of pen to paper.

Hart Johnson said...

Yeah, I can't follow rules completely either. I have a "write almost every day" guideline, but I leave wiggleroom for infrequent opportunities that arise.

C.D. Gallant-King said...

Creating good habits is so hard. Bad habits are easy. The good news is that good habits (like bad ones, unfortunately) are still hard to break once you make them!

IWSG November Post

Mandy Justin said...

I have definitely been there before: when you are told "do this" and then doing that becomes so much more difficult, even if you were doing it every day before. I guess, like you said, that's when it becomes about you and what you want rather than trying to please other people. Good luck with NaNoWriMo this month! I can't even imagine trying to take part in that and drawing every day too! Kudos to you! :)

Denise Covey said...

Hello Jan! Long time no see! I'm popping over as a co-host this month and i'm so glad I did. I've been told of that 30-day thingo for writing too, and that is why the NaNo is a great idea. I've done it every year for so long. I've got lots of unfinished, unedited novels out of it which I really will finish one day. I actually did finish and publish my first novella, and that took discipline. There is time every day to write, if we only grab it.

I wish you every success for NaNo! (I'm heading for 6,000, so my usual slow start, but I'll build up momentum...)

Denise Covey November co-host IWSG

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

We all have our own pace and writing every day just doesn't fit for some of us. I don't. I've managed to make it work so far...

Arlee Bird said...

I'm not always good with rules pertaining to things such as writing. I get pretty lax on self-discipline as well. I've got lot's of room for improvement.

Hope the NaNo writing is going well for you.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out