"You Must Be SO Disciplined"

I get this comment all the time from people whose fantasy is working in their sparkling, perfectly-organized home on their own schedule. They love to imagine a life with no boss to crack the whip, no rude, annoying, or distracting co-workers, lunch out with friends whenever they feel like it, and the chance to take the day off when the mood strikes.

But they have a lot more trouble imagining the part where you actually put your patootie in the chair and write for hours on end. Day after day, with nobody there to tell you when you have to. So they build me up to be some paragon of self-discipline.

Which is really pretty funny, since I'm definitely not. I'm frequently disorganized (you should see my office), always behind on housework, and have very little willpower when it comes to exercise or ice cream. Because having the neatest house, the most uncluttered junk drawer, and the most toned body out there don't matter so much to me.

But other things do. A lot. And among that small constellation (which includes family, friends, my animals, and reading) is writing. Crafting the best stories I can, with the most memorable characters. Emotionally connecting with my readers on some level. Meeting my deadlines (because when I give my word, that matters, too) and being able to honestly tell my editor, my fans, and especially myself at the end of the day, "I really loved this story."

It's not discipline (though I'll be working through the weekend again, and I've been putting in some long hours). It's a choice. And just saying that it's your choice will never be enough.

Instead, you have to prove it with your time and sweat and sacrifice. You have to act, not just dream.

But that's not really discipline; it's love.

Comments

ShanaGalen said…
Hear, hear! It does take discipline to write, but not as much as refusing ice cream.
Kay Hudson said…
Refusing ice cream? Who refuses ice cream?

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