Gleanings: One Small Act of Self-discipline, armament for the writer

“In order to be a good writer, you’ve got to be a bad boss. Self-discipline and stamina are the two major arms in a writer’s arsenal.” ~ Leon Uris

I went looking for self-discipline quotes to boost me. I am boosted just to see I want to read about self-discipline. I used to avoid the mention of the word. It scared me, because I felt I couldn’t do it, that it would be too hard, that I was a failure in that area. Today I know that self-discipline is nothing more than giving things one more try. And I can rest in between tries.

Sometimes I have to rest every other minute, because I’m so overwhelmed. Overwhelmed because I can’t get my thoughts to find focus, because someone said my baby book project was ugly, because it is a gloomy day, because I’ve got the taxes hanging over my head, not only my own this year, but my mother’s, as well (is God crazy, leaving me here alone to have to do taxes?!), because there is always so much noise in this house, because my head feels like a goldfish bowl. The list of distractions is endless, but I’ve come to know the cure for any and all is a bit of loving self-discipline. I say loving, not the sort to take a club and beat yourself over the head. That is not self-discipline but self-abuse. What I’m talking about is doing what you know is good for you, and doing it in small increments that you can manage, not a great push.

Following routine is a life saver. If you are still working on getting a routine, then do it, in a small chunk.

The trick is not to give up. That’s really all self-discipline is, refusing to give up, so you do what you need to do. You don’t have to do everything. Do what feeds your soul. And one tiny few minutes count.

I got the Leon Uris quote from Affirmations for Artists, by Eric Maisel, who writes in the book:

“I know that however small the act may be–just a daily hour in the studio, just an extra hour of instrument practice–every effort I make toward greater self-discipline benefits me.”

I wanted to chuck my life today and run away. But I came to the writing. Only an hour or maybe hour and a half today, but already started, I’m feeling stronger.

Sending you all love. Pass it on.

2 thoughts on “Gleanings: One Small Act of Self-discipline, armament for the writer

  1. Self-discipline and a schedule have helped me too. Now that I am retired, I no longer have a school-teacher schedule to serve as a framework, and that can be a real bother. My head is full of writing projects I want to do and I keep drifting from thing to thing to thing… never seeming to finish anything… like this very sentence… But I made for myself two very firm rules. #1 Follow through on one project to the end before seriously taking up another. #2 Write every day, at least 500 words of finished prose. I finished two novels in the last year with this system.


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