I need a good dose of self discipline

KathieSmokeyOne of the hardest things about writing–for me, at least–is the constant application of self discipline that is required:

  • At the beginning, and at every ensuing stage, the task can look overwhelming. There is a plethora of chaos that needs to be organized and structured into an interesting and readable format.
    I have to make bargains with myself, like: you can listen to your Pandora stations and play Solitaire until you win a game. Then you need to start writing. I am embarrassed to admit that if I win the first game of Solitaire, it doesn’t count as a win. It didn’t last long enough to complete the bargain.
  • This morning I’m writing my blog instead of starting on the interlude about Rahab–a self-contained story within the novel I am writing. Yesterday I spent a few hours re-reading my research notes rather than start.
    My bargain with myself this morning is to write this blog while I consume at least one cup of coffee. As soon as this is posted, I will begin. Of course, I haven’t checked my email yet today, but I hope to save that for the next time incentive is needed.
  • I can’t decide where to start–a blog, a chapter, a novel …
    The truth is, whatever I write in the first five minutes doesn’t have to be good. As a matter of fact, I seldom use the very first thing I write down the way I wrote it . I just need to get something on the page. I wonder if I could just write “blah, blah, blah” and that would count.

I have developed a routine that gets me going–a routine that doesn’t feel like self discipline to me. I get up, get dressed and put on my makeup as if I am going to a job (in essence, I am). After breakfast I head to one of my two favorite coffee shops to write for the morning. Lunch plans can vary, but afternoon writing demands a change of scenery: the local co-working spot, the library, the church.

I have a lovely office at home, but that’s where I take care of business: correspondence, bill-paying, printing, watching the crazy things I have pinned to show my grandchildren (usually at this time, there will be one or two of them sitting on my lap or crowding around the computer) …

Am I the only one who has to play these game to make progress on the tasks assigned to me (whether by myself
or someone else)?

What helps you get to the things you need to do?

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