If you aren’t self-disciplined, writing just got harder for you…
Writing is a singular endeavor, that in the early stages of a career requires a great amount of discipline and self-motivation. You aren’t under contract. You don’t have a deadline except for the one you give yourself, so it becomes easy to do everything in the world but write.
Writing is one of those pursuits where too much credit is given to the person who simply sits in front of a screen. But these days, that screen might hold everything except a screenplay.
The screen might be your list of recent online orders. It probably has social media that blinks alerts at you. Maybe a video game or two wait in your queue of favorites. And as always there’s entertainment news and gossip, that the writer convinces herself is relevant to her writing career.
Time for writing is eaten up by bad habits. Weak behavior. Shallow social interactions.
But it’s not writing. It’s a pretense of writing. It’s another way the writer puts the act of writing in a secondary or tertiary position of priority—and it shows.
It shows in the pages not written. It shows in the scenes that remain incomplete. It shows in the lack of depth and development of story. But it also shows in the stunted growth of the writer,
I admit, I’m the teacher in a workshop who cringes when a student tells me she needs a writer’s discipline. I feel a little hit of pain in my colon, because I’m going to have to say the following words out loud.
“I don’t teach discipline. Sorry.”
If you aren’t self-disciplined, writing just got harder for you. No one else should be responsible for cajoling, bribing, negotiating, or gently intimidating you into the effort of your own writing.
Discipline is a process of maturity. Maturity as writer, and maturity as a human being.
If you seek in a teacher or a fellow scribe, a taskmaster that will force you to complete your own assignments? Then you need to be honest with yourself. Do you really have the interest, talent, or drive it takes to become a professional screenwriter?
Writing will quickly winnow out the weak. Writing cares little about talent. Writing gives zero consideration to innate or God given gifts. Writing brutalizes the lazy.
Self-Discipline comes from a repetitive habit. The habit of writing every day. The work of learning skills by applying knowledge to the page. It comes from pushing through the hazards, boredom, frustrations of everyday life to place your tushie in a chair and then to face a screen with a blinking cursor. No matter what.
It means setting aside immediate and overwhelming voices that scream for your attention.
Turn off the incoming messages. Turn off the shallow entertainment news. Turn off the social media. Turn off the news.
Write every day.
Loving you dear writer.