Discipline isn’t a dirty word
Here’s the realization: I’ve never truly developed the writing habit.
Though I’ve been writing for nearly my entire life, it was something I did when the mood hit me or when I had a deadline. When I took my first creative writing course in college, my professor, bless his heart, was adamant about writing every day. I think this is the case with most writing teachers. We read Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg. He wanted us to listen to Mozart, to write in the same place every day at the same time, and to increase the length of the sessions over time. And I tried hard to accommodate him during that semester, but the process never stuck, especially the Mozart.
Of course, I saw the wisdom in developing a practice back then, as I do now. There’s no way I’m going to write a novel or build a writing career without one. I’d hoped NaNoWriMo would help me build that practice. Now I’m thinking not having that practice already established may have been what ultimately killed my NaNoWriMo in the first place.
I have a tendency to rush things, to get way ahead of myself, and then get surprised when I find myself overwhelmed. It’s a surefire setup for failure. I envy people who figured out what they wanted to do early in life, and started honing those skills while still very young. And I envy people who can see the finish line and honor the journey it takes to get there. I see where I want to be and try everything but the straight, and seemingly lengthy, path to it. The time has come for me to embrace the ever slow, yet productive baby step.
So, my first toddler step is to just sit my ass down and write (gasp) EVERY day. Excuses are already running through my mind. I can feel a big ball of rebellion turning in my stomach. But the sooner I stop slacking off and letting myself off the hook, the sooner I can reach my goals. Discipline doesn’t have to be a dirty word. It isn’t.