Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. -- Gene Fowler

Monday, April 19, 2010

On Discipline

Discipline is solitary. Only you really know what you'd rather be doing today. Perhaps you yearn for a long walk, or a cozy quilt and a good book. ... These treats have their time. But their time is not the writing time.
-Susan Shaughnessy, Walking on Alligators

Discipline is hard. It's really difficult to fight off the early morning sleepiness or the monkey mind that wants to meander all over creation and sit down and be creative. There may be other important work that needs to get done. That shoves creative endeavours off to the side. It oughtn't to, but it usually does.

I've written about this before, and I'm sure I will write about it again in here. It's an issue that plagues all modern creatives. We have lives and families and jobs and whatnot else, and frequently we feel as if being creative is something that's not as important as all those other things. The voice of The Judge booms over any attempt we may make to squirm free of responsibilities, to pare out a little time in the afternoon to sit down and write or paint or sculpt or what-have-you. "You should be doing 'X'! You're ignoring your responsibilities!"

You have a responsibility to nurture your creative self, too. Many of us place ourselves and our personal needs last on the list of things that need to get done. I do it all the time. If I'm beholden only to myself, it's very easy to just blow off that Artist Date or say, "Eh, I'll do my writing /tomorrow/." But tomorrow I say the same thing, and the next day, and before I know it a week has passed and I've not sat down to write fiction once. And on the heels of such a realisation comes the self-criticism, the put-downs, the mantras of failure.

It doesn't have to be so. Last week I missed two (TWO!) posts in this blog. I didn't race to catch up, I didn't berate myself (much) for having slacked off or been too busy or whatever the circumstance was. I'll just do my best this week to post here every day, like I usually do. It's okay. I don't want to repeat it, but it's not the end of the world. I'll just keep on going, one word in front of the other.

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes a character's lack of desire can seem interesting. Like an existential mystery.