My problem lately is that I have been too easily distracted. I allowed myself to be distracted. Self-discipline is an important tool in a writer’s tool box. I would put it right up there with pen, paper, and words. If you have self-discipline, you can do anything. Everything you want to do takes some kind of effort on your part. If something comes too easily, you know that you could do better. Self-discipline takes grit and determination. You have to want it. You have to desire it so badly that it is all you focus on – there’s nothing else.
Self-discipline is the one tool that no one has at the beginning of their writing life. It has to be developed. Some people develop it faster than others, but as long as you develop it, you will do fine. Focus is another word for self-discipline. In fact, focus often is used in place of self-discipline as a simpler reference. Either term will do, it’s the same thing. You have to discipline yourself to do what you want – self-discipline can help you in other aspects of your life, not just writing. Amateur athletes use self-discipline to get to the Olympics, but they have coaches to help them. The coaches impose discipline on the athlete and help them to learn the self-discipline they need to achieve their goals.
If you want to write a novel, you have to impose discipline on yourself. You can get a writing coach, but ultimately, as in sports, the self-discipline you learn is up to you and you alone. You are the one who has to make the time to write and that is sometimes the hardest part of writing. Just sit down and do it. Turn off the radio. Turn off the TV. Turn off your phone. Turn off the Internet. Unplug from the world. Hide in a closet, if you have to. Just eliminate the distractions and focus on the writing. That’s self-discipline. Tuning out the world while you write is self-discipline. Set a timer if you need to and don’t look at it. put it somewhere close by, but out of sight.
Don’t give in to the temptation to look something up somewhere – dictionary, thesaurus, Internet, whatever. Resist that impulse. Just write it. you can check your facts, spelling and word choices in revision. That’s what revisions are for. The rough draft is for getting the words out. That’s why NaNoWriMo is good. It forces you to chuck out the distractions. You don’t have to wait for an official NaNoWriMo event to do this. You can do it anytime. Just set your task. Give it a time limit and go for it. find what works for you and cultivate the method. Then, when you need it, you can use it to get your writing done. That’s all you have to do. Find a way to develop self-discipline and you can do anything.