Relearning Writer Discipline

"I hate writing. I love having written." Dorothy Parker

I feel like I am never writing enough. Every few months, when I’ve tumbled down the blackhole of overtime, I need to reestablish my writing habit and that starts with relearning writer discipline.

The Familiar Fight

Relearning the discipline for a task or hobby is old hat to me by now. The particular example I think of is running.

When I restart running after a dry spell, I enter the run knowing a few things.

  • Go slow. Getting overzealous and trying to get back into it at the faster speeds is just going to hurt and discourage me.
  • At the eight minute mark, my legs will hurt. But I know from all my runs before, I just need to move through it. My legs will warm up and relax by minute twelve-thirteen.
  • At minute nineteen to twenty-three, I become aware of my fatigue. It’s time for power songs to get me through to the end I wanted to reach.

My body knows what it needs to do. I just have to fight the mental blocks and remember that I can.

But Running is Mechanical

Writing is different. Writing is a mental game in and of itself. It’s hard to keep a piece of your mind in check to remind yourself and encourage your progress when it is already working overtime to craft scenes rich in colour and scent, characters in emotion and authenticity, plot is stealthy and believable ways. (You know, all of which seems cliché and hokey when you are actually writing it.)

The physical aspect of writing comes to rear its head multiple times. My fingers get cold, especially in emotional scenes. I get hungry when I’m not sure where to take my scene. My legs cramp when I forget to change up my position.

So what really happens when I get to writing?

5 minutes in
Randomly open internet browser and click to a news site. Close it feeling a little disgusted with myself for my computer reflexes. Return to draft.

7 minutes in
Search for something I need to put into my draft.

39 minutes in
Realize I have been surfing the net instead of writing. Return to draft.

43 minutes in
Find myself staring at ceiling, wondering about the efficacy of a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser on painted textured plaster. Wonder how long I have been staring. Return to draft.

59 minutes in
Finally getting into writing, realize my time is up and I have somewhere to be, something to do. Vow to do better next time.

Please tell me this is familiar to someone other than myself.

So I’m going to leave off with a Dorothy Parker quote

"I hate writing. I love having written." Dorothy Parker


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