Discipline is a Muscle

When you begin to exercise and lose weight, you have to make a commitment. I am GOING to do this, and no amount of distraction or naysaying or cinnamon crunch bagels can stop me. But the size of the committment does not equal the ongoing daily drain of doing the work. Your initial firm decision will not hold up. Only forcing yourself to do it daily will help. But then it gets easier, with time and practice and above all, with habit.

Writing is the same. Discipline is more about habit than willpower. That’s a good thing. If it were about willpower, you’d have to make that same forceful determined commitment every day. But like any muscle, discipline is easier and easier the more work it does. It’s a steep hill at first, but you can climb it, and it’s flatter at the top.

Not that it is always easy after that. It’s not downhill. But it’s flat, and you can keep going without having to shove so hard.

Set aside a time every day to write. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted, or to have anything else available to do during that time. You don’t have to actually write, and at first you might not. Also, it doesn’t matter WHAT you write: complaints about how you can’t write are fine. But think of it as your writing time, and you don’t get to do anything ELSE.

After a while, days or weeks, if you are a writer at all… you will write. Then, if you keep exercising that discipline muscle, you will keep writing.

Write. Finish things. THEN worry about making them good.


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