Wednesday, November 06, 2013

IWSG: Cultivating Self-Discipline

You are all going to thank me. I have discovered the key to self-discipline when it comes to writing.

Chocolate.

Okay, that isn't exactly the key, but downing a few squares of dark chocolate can't hurt, right?

Here's a cold, hard truth: there is no one-size-fits-all key to self-discipline or anything else. Each person has to do what's right for them. What works for one person might not work for someone else.

But maybe my method can help you.

So here it is, Melissa's Ridiculously Easy One-Step Guide to Self-Discipline:

Buckle down and do it.

Really.

That's it.

There comes a point when I've faffed about enough on the Internet (and apparently, have spent too much time talking to my British friends on Twitter since I'm using the word "faffing"), close my open tabs, and zero in on the writing task at hand. I don't do any special rituals to prepare my mind, though I may pop a few Dove Dark Chocolates for good measure. I simply get to work and write.

Some days are far easier than others to accomplish this. There are days when my mind is so convoluted and convinced that I must read every last interesting link I've found on Twitter or Facebook that I get nothing done. I hate those days. But sometimes, I have days like that and I have to get the work done anyway. That's when I get very firm with myself and crack the whip.

I'm learning that I need to crack the whip a little more often. I sometimes long for the days before social media. Yet I've made such good friends and connections through social media that I'm hesitant to back away from it. Breaks are always good, of course. In fact, I thoroughly encourage everyone to take a break from the Internet as much as possible.

 But I'm muddling along the best I can and really, isn't that all we can expect from ourselves? To do the best we can? I think so. Adding more pressure to an already stressful existence (and who isn't stressed in this day and age?) won't help anyone, and it will make your writing suffer that much more.


What are your tips and tricks when it comes to self-discipline and your writing? Do share!


This post is part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group monthly blog hop. 
Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!


24 comments:

  1. LOL. Chocolate sure does help! I've needed to just buckle down and get to writing, too--but these past two days have been the hardest. I think we also should know not to beat ourselves up if we can't focus all that well. Sometimes a little break is a good thing!

    I've thought about turning off my wifi to get things done...but I'm not so sure that would last long. I also use the internet to research for my book. Guess I gotta work on the self-discipline a little more, lol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I completely agree, Ashley - taking a break from writing is sometimes very necessary. I know there have been times I've tried to writing and I produce nothing but drivel. :)

      Delete
  2. Yep. Ignoring the social media is painful but necessary for me or I don't get anything done. Chocolate is a food group too. Can't ignore it. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! Chocolate is most definitely a food group! I have some every single day. It's my weakness.

      I need to learn to ignore social media in the evenings since I'm on it all day at work.

      Delete
  3. Thanks for finding me, Melissa. Obviously you know I've struggled with the same thing. :) I recently considered deleting all my social media accounts, and procrastination was only a small part of that.

    I've found setting a timer helps. I change rooms sometimes to get my brain out of that surfing place. It can be really, really hard, but like you say, sometimes we just have to do it.

    Great post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Holli, I'm the same - sometimes I'll write in my bedroom, other times in my living room, and other times in my office. It just depends on my mood, I guess. I should try setting a timer and see how I do with that, too. :)

      Delete
  4. I love that Jeanette Winterson quote - and thanks very much for your good advice and encouraging comment on my blog. :-) I'm off to write any old rubbish for now, to be honed to perfection at a later date :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're very welcome, Linda. I hope that it helps! :)

      Delete
  5. I agree with EVERYTHING you said. I take breaks from twitter and facebook all the time. They are the worst for making me procrastinate. And as for knuckling down and getting the novel done, that's what I do. Sometimes I write too much though and it feels like my brain will melt. Not good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YES! The Internet is a double-edged sword: a blessing for the connections we make with others, the research, the unbelievable information available to us; a curse for procrastinators!

      Delete
  6. Hey, chocolate alone works for me. :)
    Great post--I completely agree.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Faith. Chocolate is a super food! LOL

      Delete
  7. I, too, concur with what you've written here. I think it all comes down to that hated word, "balance". There are days where we're just going to get nothing done because we're goofing off and know it, but...I think that in a way, we really need those days, especially in this era when we're being pulled in countless directions of varying importance.

    That said, you are right...we also need to discipline ourselves. I've just taken to shutting everything down other than what I absolutely NEED to write—my writing app, some good music in the background, a pot of tea...and yes, chocolate!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jen, I never thought of it that before, but I think you're right - that we need those days when we just goof off and don't get anything done. In a way, it's a form of playing, of letting our mind take a break from the big R of Responsibility. ;)

      Delete
  8. Same as you, basically. Buckle down and do it.
    Great post. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Set goals. I don't always hit them on time, but at least I have a target. As for chocolate, Lindor truffles. Works wonders.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is something I need to do more - set goals. I tend to just say, whatever gets done, gets done. I don't know if I'd classify that as a goal or not. :)

      Delete
  10. Chocolate is one of my writing staples and it is good for you.
    I am enjoying my early morning social media free writing zone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! The dark chocolate is very good for you. :) I'm so glad you found a way to get some writing done.

      Delete
  11. 'Buckle down and do it' yeah I agree with that, it is soo easy to faff around! Taking a break from the internet is good, some days all I seem to do is blog! If our friends online are also writers they understand this need to switch off and concentrate on our WIPs. Happy writing and thank you for the kind words you left on my blog. I will visit here again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Suzanne! I think that's about all I did yesterday was visit blogs. But it was fun because I got to meet new people. :)

      Delete
  12. I totally agree with you. Ain't nothing to it but to do it, although, I'm sure the addition of chocolate would probably help to motivate me:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely! Chocolate is the cure for everything. :)

      Delete

I love to hear from you!