News & Updates, The Writer's Life

Finding Success in Discipline

At the beginning of the school year, my oldest daughter was hesitant to take an art class. She wanted to try her hand at pottery, but the course was unavailable. So, she was stuck with drawing. She likes to draw and color, but her talent needs development. She needed a disciplined environment that would teach her the various forms and techniques of drawing. She is no Da Vinci, but she dived into her artwork with a passion and a desire comparable to that of great artists. This drive to succeed created some surprising drawings with multiple accomplishments. And she did it all with discipline and hard work.

Writing is an art form, as well. If you never try it, you will never succeed at it. All of those written words will remain on a near-empty hard drive begging to be edited and reshaped. No one will ever view the stories that run through your head because you did not have the discipline to get them down on paper.

At the start of this year, I decided it was time for some discipline in my daily routine. Although I felt that I had fallen short of my goals, I accomplished a few things last month that I would not have had I not disciplined myself to do so.

I managed to write 4,661 words in Grandfather’s Whispers, two articles for Diary of a Fat Girl, two posts for Journeys Through Meditation, five articles for Year In Reading, read four books, added a new character while enhancing six other characters in my new trilogy, and created a story outline for all three of my new books that I will work on after Grandfather’s Whispers is complete.

There was some difficulty adhering to the discipline I had set for myself. Especially when one of the young ladies in my home had an extreme hormonal imbalance (complete with light-headedness, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting) that required an unscheduled doctor’s visit, and the other girl developed a cold during her exam week. Other obstacles included a dozen more doctor’s appointments and snow days. God forbid if a child should have a snow day!

Even my own procrastination got in the way of completing my goals. I chose steam-clean my carpets instead of writing one day. Oh, the horrors of having a clean house! How can a writer manage to keep a clean house, take care of children and write successfully without neglecting her relationship with her husband?

My accomplishments last month were, without a doubt, a great deal of effort. I discovered that I had to say “no” more than I wanted to. I had to say “no” to my sister when she wanted me to babysit my nephew on a Father/Daughter day, which gave me complete creative isolation. I had to say “no” to my housecleaning by letting the laundry pile up and making my husband do the work so that I could accomplish a few more words in my book. And, I had to say “no” to picking up a child from an after-school program, making my husband drive out in the bitter cold.

Since my husband has taken a break from his scholarly studies, he also has a little time to pick up the slack regarding house cleaning and children. I have enjoyed it immensely, although the guilt remains. I feel guilty for the dirty clothes piling up. I feel guilty when I want to fix a quick meal without paying attention to its nutritional value. And I feel guilty when my family is downstairs watching a movie while I am typing away in my little corner. I asked my husband if it bothered him that I was writing. He says, “no.” Justifying his answer by telling me that this is my dream and he wants to see me succeed. What a guy!

Things will start to settle down again. But, unfortunately, I can’t control whether children will get sick just as much as I can’t control the weather. But, if I remain disciplined in my quest to become a novelist, my dream will come true one day. Then, I will remember that my discipline and hard work got me there. And it will be my discipline and hard work that will further advance my dream as a writer.