Gosh, Wednesday again already? Guess that means it's my turn to blog about something near and not-so-very dear to my heart: discipline. I should admit up front, I'm not a very disciplined person, especially when it comes to writing. In fact, my usual approach is about as follows: "Ooh! Cool idea! Better write it down!" Then I write until I lose interest, and then I stop. This has led to an unbelievable number of ten- to fifty-page chunks of writing - I have an entire folder in my documents titled "Novel Beginnings". It's 29 megabytes. Considering how small a single Word document is...well, you get the picture.
My self-discipline, therefore, is almost nonexistent. But I've found that even un-self-disciplined folks like me can create the illusion of outside forces to make them be disciplined. Case in point: NaNoWriMo. Is anything actually going to happen to me if I don't make it to 50,000 words? Of course not. But every year I toil away diligently, devoting energy (that would otherwise be directed towards very important television) to writing. Most years, I make it.
Sadly, NaNoWriMo only happens every November. When that's the case, I find contests to be the most effective way to whip myself into shape: make a bet with someone that, say, you can finish rewriting your novel by October 31. Just for example. Come up with whatever dire consequences will motivate you. Instant self-discipline!
Oh, I guess I did forget to mention why discipline is important. Sure, there's always the off-chance that you'll vomit forth an entire perfect novel, sell it, and never have to work hard. For most of us, though, getting published involves an awful lot of tough writing, re-writing, and editing - and that takes discipline.