On beautiful crisp days when the sun is shining, it’s often hard to pull out the computer and plug away at that masterpiece. Our friends are going out biking or hiking up a magnificent mountain. Rainy days are a much better alternative. But, if you only write when it rains, it’s going to take you a long time to finish that book. Discipline is one of the hardest tasks of the writing world. Writers by nature aren’t disciplined. They love to play and live in the moment. If you go to a writer’s conference and look around, you’ll see a lot of relaxed people with long hair, some with tats, and most in casual clothing. They don’t look too disciplined.
So, what’s a writer to do?
It’s like any other job. If writing were fun and games, more people would do it. More books would be written. Yeah, there are lots of unfinished manuscripts, but I’m talking finished books.
Sometimes writing means getting words on paper and then doing the hard work of editing. Yes, the muse comes, but for me it comes while I’m working. I can tune out the beautiful, beckoning world around me and keep going. But, I’ve got to get started and I need goals to do that. What are your goals? How do you hold yourself accountable to those goals?
Many writers have full-time jobs. Obligations that pull them away from writing throughout the week. We know what those obligations are. We must work around them and find time between the obligations.
I block those out. Often on the weekends. Sundays are great writing days. Even for those church-going writers, Sunday afternoons provide a good block of time. Other writers like to write early in the morning before the world awakens. The trick is finding the time, dedicating yourself to that time and then write.
Set clear goals. Don’t simply say, I’m gonna write today. Make clear goals either by word count or by time at your computer or by pages.
Be accountable to those goals. By that I mean, find a writing partner. Someone who will hold you to your goals. When I was thirteen, my sister and I went on a diet together. We both lost weight. How? No fad diets. We simply held each other accountable. We guarded the cookie cabinet. You need someone like that to help you keep your goals.
It takes discipline to write a book.
What tips have worked for you to help you be a more disciplined writer?