Thursday, September 3, 2009


I have to admit, I don't do discipline well. I think it has something to do with the time I spent in the military. I'm not very organized either, though I've gotten better in the last several years.
What's discipline got to do with writing you ask?

Just this…if you want to write a novel within a reasonable amount of time, you have to be disciplined. This means writing on a regular basis. It's one of the things that serious writers have in common. They write on a schedule. They make their writing a priority.

I had problems with this. Call it procrastination or call it lazy but it isn't a good thing. So, followed the advice of many writers and decided to make writing a priority for me. To make it something important in my daily routine.

About this time, James Scott Bell tweeted about completing his Nifty 350. Meaning, his goal for the day is 350 words, written in the mornings. I took this idea and ran with it, so to speak.

I decided on a "First 500" and put my self on an internet diet. Harsh yes, but it's really working. I take my laptop into the bedroom so first thing in the morning, I can fire it up and get to writing.

The first couple days, it took about 4 hours to get those First 500 words. Now, I'm one of those writers who tend to write, edit, rewrite and then revise each sentence as I go along so that's not a long time for me.

After the first week, I found myself looking forward to writing first thing in the morning and the word counts rising and not taking as long to get on the page. I've only been doing this for a little over a month now but for several days I've managed to get between 1,000 to 1,500 words in the same 4 hours.

I also learned that the internet won't wither up and blow away if I'm not there. I discovered that many of the things I did online, once thought of as necessities, really weren't.

And I've discovered I like writing more than reading many other writing blogs. Sure, I still have a favorite few I read on a regular basis but now I've gotten my priorities in the right order and when I spend some time online, I don't feel guilty because I haven't written.

I don't have any books to recommend to you however, if you have a problem with procrastination, check out Procrastinating Writer.

Then, take a look at your schedule and make writing a priority.


  1. Can I give myself a little plug here too? My articles on time management and organization can be found at I cover procrastination, organizing your home office, making the most of your writing time, etc.

    Discipline has never been a big problem for me. Overcommitting is. Right now, I have over 30 books to review. While I love my blog and want it to be successful, I could spend that reading time getting some writing done. I also have large volunteer commitments at church, which steal moments from writing too.

    The one thing I was sure not to do this year was to sign up to volunteer for a bunch of things at the girls' schools. I chose one thing that I would do, and that's it. Last school year, I even said no to something. Gasp!

    I write every day, though it's usually blogging. Now that I have so many book tours, it will probably be more difficult for me to write, but I am determined to submit something to my critique group at least once a month.


  2. Taking too many things on my platter is a problem too. It took me a while before I got the nerve up to say "no" to something at the church. I just couldn't take on another project.

    It's hard though. Deciding what to not do. I think that's cause as women, we are the care givers, (for the most part) and it's hard wired into our being to do, do, do.

    It really comes down to deciding what we want to accomplish and then sucking it up and taking charge of our commitments.

    Much easier said than done though.:-)

  3. I try to write every morning for two hours. I don't have the problem of children at home or an outside job, but my husband is retired like me, and he sometimes wants to talk when I'm in the middle of a story.

    Trying to do too many tasks at once, working on three stories at the same time, promotion, Sunday school work, also is a problem.

    Blogging and email I save mostly for nighttime.


  4. Involving the people in my life has helped me become more disciplined (family, friends, writing group). It's like having people be aware of what I'm doing, keeps me doing it. I think that's a Nano thing that's really helped. The possiblity of public humiliation keeps me on the ball. Mostly. :D

  5. Loved this post, Jean.
    I've just recently told myself that if I really, truely, deep-down want to be a serious writer (and get rid of the hell of having a "real" job)then I better get to writing.
    I've found that it's too easy to find other things to occupy my time. Thinking about writing isn't writing. I figure that even if I write something that isn't fit to read, then at least I've written something and hopefully learned from it.

  6. I try to write on my novel, most every day. A Thrifty--Seven-fifty and hope for 1500-3000 words. I need to average about 2100 to reach my goal of finishing my first draft by November. I have reached the halfway point and usually it goes faster after that. (Hope--Hope)

    But, I find myself not writing for a couple of days and then I'll get back into it. I've tried writing for an hour every morning and that doesn't work. I've also tried the evening shift of writing and that doesn't work. I have to just grab a bit here and there. I love to watch the word count build.

  7. I recently switched jobs to one that has a better schedule and launched my own job. It seems with those two things writing takes a backseat to everything else. I loved this article because it is forcing me to look at the reasons why I am not writing. I just have to get the butt in the chair.