Discipline

Lately, the question I hate to hear is, “So how’s your writing going?” This question makes me cringe. This question reminds me that my writing is not going. Yes, I’ve started a hundred things. Like a monster, I leave my characters waiting to feel complete. Because that’s all we ever want, right? A feeling of completeness. But lately I’ve been feeling likeI lack the discipline to be a writer. I’ve been second guessing myself.

I randomly applied to a flash fiction contest for a magazine. I was rejected. I didn’t flinch. I didn’t cry. I thought, “Well, there’s always next time.” But I know there won’t be a next time if I don’t write. I need to find direction. I love writing shorts, but I don’t think I can tell a whole story in a short story. I love writing long, but the muddle in the middle bogs me down and makes me want to stop. I have a love/hate relationship with writing. I need to do it, because it makes me feel complete, fulfilled, and most of all happy and content. But sometimes I hate to do it, or I hate how much it haunts me when I’m not doing it.

When I was writing, really writing, my brain filled up with so many ideas I could barely keep up. Now I don’t even have blog ideas. I had people telling me how I inspired them. Getting up at 4 in the morning to write, then dealing with kids, coming to a full time job, having a kid on a gymnastics team. Where was the time? But if I’ve learned anything about myself it’s that I’m a better writer when I’m busy. I’m a better writer when I have to squeeze it in. I’m also a better writer when I’m a runner.

Lately, I’ve been training for another half marathon. Yeah, I think I said I’d never do one again, but I changed my mind. The truth is, running helps me keep the weight off, even if it doesn’t help me lose weight (Lord—I wish it did—I feel like I will never get rid of this extra 15 lbs). And running helps center me. I listen to music, but it’s really just a beat, and my mind sorts out problems. Ideas come and go, and they don’t stick, but it does something to my brain. It makes my brain more creative. All the problem solving that comes while my feet are hitting the pavement shows up in the form of writing.

And running is a form of discipline. There are times when I’m running and I feel like stopping. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I stop, and I turn around, and I walk to the house. Sometimes when I do that I feel defeated by myself. Mad at myself. Sometimes I feel okay, because I listened to my body. And there are times when I’m running where I push through. I slow down and then I speed up again, and I achieve my goal of completing the run. These are the times I think I can apply to writing. Pushing through the times where the story feels like it’s going nowhere by just writing some crap-words on paper and getting to the next good part. I need to learn how to apply the discipline I have in my running to my writing. Because we all know that without hard work, we don’t get anywhere. Without the hours of sweat and toil, and manuscripts tossed aside, I would never be published.

So for the next few months, I’m going to work on bringing discipline back to my life, not only with my running but with my writing. I started by joining a MOOC over at www.novoed.com called How Writer’s Write Fiction: Storied Women Writers. I’m hoping this will get me started again and allow me to finish something, then revise, then submit, and then hopefully, one day, publish again.

8 thoughts on “Discipline

  1. Good thoughts and very true. Writing takes a lot of discipline. I was in a similar situation, But one book that recently helped me a lot was “The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles”. It changed my perspective about writing and since then, I have become more disciplined. If you haven’t read it already, I would recommend you to read it.

    Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I have read “The War of Art” but maybe I need to read it again! I find that life sometimes gets in the way, and I use it to make excuses. I’m tired of making excuses. I want to use my running motivation to help guide my running. We’ll see where it goes!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yay! Another runner-writer!! And I hear you about the ‘never doing another half marathon’ lie… 😀
    I can really struggle with focus too and am better when I’m busy. I’ve found sand-timers help – a 30 minutes one or a 60 minutes one – I can ‘just do half an hour’ (or an hour) and of course, when I’ve done that, I’m into it and keep going.
    Keep on keeping on!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good to hear from you, Lauren. You bring up some good points on running and writing. It takes discipline. I’m working on discipline myself and applying deadlines to myself. I’m not doing so well on them thus far. But it’s a work in progress, like everything else.

    It’s good to hear that you’re training for another half-marathon. Look forward to hearing more about it. And good luck with your class. I’ve been looking for an online class on writing, but haven’t yet. At least, a class that’s not expensive. It’s out there somewhere.

    Anyway, it’s good to hear from you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, Lordy, do I know about this. That question has been popping up in conversations lately and I honestly do not know how to answer it.

    “How’s the writing going?”
    “How close are you to submitting?”
    “You can’t keep those agents waiting forever, you know.”

    They mean well, I know they do. But sometimes I feel like the more pressure I get from those who aren’t writers does more harm then good.

    Best of luck with the running, I know that is not an easy feat to accomplish!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You know, it’s interesting you write about this topic. I don’t seem to have much of a writing routine. I usually end up plopping in front of my computer, and I either feel like writing or I don’t, but I think it’s important for me to utilize some self-discipline and set aside certain times for writing. Otherwise, I may never finish my novels. Thank you so much for writing this; it gives me something to keep in mind as I write.

    Liked by 1 person

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