Sometimes when people learn that I write fiction full time, they say, “Wow, that takes discipline,” or, “I admire your discipline.” But really, in showing up at my desk every day, I’m no more disciplined than the person who reports to any standard job. I choose to be present to my work. Otherwise, I wouldn’t eat.
I didn’t always have that attitude. When fiction writing was a hobby, it took a great deal of discipline for me to partake in it. I found it very difficult to come home from my day job and concentrate on my fiction. I had Writer Who Doesn’t Write Syndrome, which I blogged about earlier (click here for that post).
Something in me shifted when a full-time fiction writer told me, “Look, you never hear Olympic athletes say, ‘I wish I could practice more, but I just don’t have the time.’ They make the time, no matter what.”
For me, conquering Writer Who Doesn’t Write syndrome required discipline. It required making the time.
Nowadays, I’m very disciplined when it comes to the more mental/emotional aspects of writing, and I’m like many creative people who commit to a separate activity — a meditation practice, a regular kickboxing class, or what have you — which keeps them in healthy touch with their feelings, and thus makes them more available to their art. For me, that one super-beneficial routine requiring my disciplined commitment is exercise. There’s just something about feeling good and strong physically that seems to connect me to my words.
What requires you to be disciplined? What keeps you feeling mentally well?