In my first year of high school I was this scrawny kid who had a lot of trouble adapting. I might say that I was an introvert; I wasn’t the most sociable of creatures.

A friend of mine was taking some kickboxing classes and I said, “Why not?” I honestly don’t know why, but I do know that I was pretty sure it wouldn’t be such a big deal. The first training was awful – I thought I was going to die or something, but somehow I managed to go to the next one, and the next, and two weeks I found myself actually enjoying them.

You see, there was this routine. Two hours a day, five days a week I would be at the gym. Whether I liked it or not. Whether my head hurt or not. Whether I got a bad grade at school or not. Because when I entered the gym, there were other expectations, other dreams, and an entirely different world. The person I was outside of it ceased to exist, and this allowed me to concentrate on what I was doing then.

The same principle applies to writing. The most successful writers have this in common: they always show up at their desk. Daily. No questions asked. They have to show up, whether they feel like it or not. Because writing is never easy. And it never gets easy, but you can train your mind, you can find a routine, a time during the day in which you can know for sure that you’re free to put pen to paper without having to worry about the kids, making dinner, your job, or other stuff. But you have to show up, you have to at least try. I just have to stare at the white screen for half an hour. Then write. Good stuff or bad, it doesn’t matter.

The best analogy I can think of right now is that writing is like trying to pick up a girl; the guys who are really good at it are also the ones who fail a lot. But they just don’t care. You have to be willing to make a fool out of yourself, to fail lamentably. If you expect nothing out of any given situation, than odds are that the results are going to surprise you. In a good way. Also, I believe that you can’t write something good unless you’re willing to write something, anything.

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24 comments on “Discipline

  1. aminah says:

    “Forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not. Habit will help you finish and polish your stories. Inspiration won’t. Habit is persistence in practice.” Octavia Butler

    Enjoyed your post.

  2. avwalters says:

    Well, a one-night-stand might be a place to start; we all need to learn to get beyond no. However, down the road, we’re hoping for a long-term relationship with writing, and the “picking up chicks” analogy begins to fail.

  3. balroop2013 says:

    Hi Cristian

    When I clicked to read this post, and just started reading it, I thought you are going to share who disciplined you at school and how did you take it! but the way it unfolded, revealing the true determination of a writer is amazing!!

    I couldn’t agree with you more….writing just happens, you just have to sit with a paper and pen or the empty screen before you….thoughts start flowing and Lo! you are bewildered to note how you could write so much!!

  4. teasome says:

    thank you for this reminder and inspiration.

  5. Rock ON!!! I love this article and I love the way you put it together! Sounds like your story is very much similar to mine.

  6. Great advice Cristian, but it’s a discipline I struggle to adopt! I hope to get there soon. :)

  7. smealek says:

    This was remarkably inspirational.

    Thank you for sharing

  8. In ‘Art and Fear’ (http://www.tedorland.com/artandfear/) by Bayles and Orland, they propose that 90% of the art we mustl be ‘crap’ in order to produce the 10% that soars. That ratio might very a bit but the concept rings true as does your post.

  9. Absolutely. I remind myself that writing is re-writing.

  10. Brenda says:

    “80% of success is showing up.” — Woody Allen. He should know. LOL

  11. eemoxam says:

    I needed this today, thanks.

  12. D.L. Kamstra says:

    There is so much truth to this! It is hard to start something sometimes, but once you do it gets easier. I know I end up doing some of my best writing when I am doing it regularly and frequently.

  13. We can do it if we put our mind to it, alright!

  14. Life's Books says:

    I love this advice! It’s good to open the eyes to the fact that inspiration is overrated. What is habitual has a much bigger chance of succeeding than what is based solely on moments of “revelation” .

  15. glenn says:

    Great stuff!
    I needed to be reminded of discipline. It is that order that (with no small amount of irony) allows me to grow as a person, especially as an recovered alcoholic/addict.
    In reference to a specific piece your post, it is discipline that I need to push forward as a writer more so in times of self-doubt, such as now. I would rather take action than do nothing but sometimes taking action leads to a product that I am unhappy with. To fail forward, however, is what I am learning.
    Thank you for sharing your inspiring words.

  16. This is a good read. Thanks for the encouragement!

  17. Richmond says:

    This does not apply to me. I can force my self to write, but if I am not in the mood, there is just no way I can write a really nice piece. I can hand out a shitty article at anytime, but if I need to pass an article that will be approved by my editor, the mood to write has to be right. Right? LOL

    I most enjoy writing speeches for our Executive Director and sometimes even the Secretary. So I can always get in the mood whenever I write any one of those. But with other writing tasks that I need to accomplish, I just wouldn’t be able to write just because I needed to or because it my schedule to write.

  18. Still Times says:

    You are such an inspiration! I’m not a writer but do enjoy reading great work. Love your ability to covey a clear message. Well done.

  19. Still Times says:

    *Convey – sorry about that.

  20. snarksense says:

    I definitely enjoyed this! As I’m settling into my blog, was just thinking about this very thing last night! :)

  21. Bre Faucheux says:

    Thanks for writing this. I needed to hear some of it. ;-)

  22. parra67 says:

    So true. Blogging is a requirement of a teaching course I’m on and we’re going to have to include a couple of posts in an assignment to complete the course yet people are finding it tough going. I’ve blogged previously so find it a bit more familiar but I keep saying to those who ask how I do it that they need to put aside a few minutes, sit down with their computer or whatever, open up their blog and start to write. If they don’t carry out the first three steps, the fourth one is never going to happen. Everyone has something to say about something that has happened to them or that they’ve seen or heard today, write about that and it’s amazing where your mind will take you.

  23. Training of the mind could bring about the acceptable behavior, in groups of people, or the discipline process.
    School experience is a step, to learning the societal ideals, and seems to create problems with adaptation, in case of new learners.
    I believe, the early stages should require more attention, by the people around, who really care for others.
    Thank you, for the discussion.

  24. thebargle says:

    This post has inspired me to create a routine! I felt like I never had enough time to write because I felt like everything I wrote had to be perfect. Every time I did sit down to write, I’d criticize myself but never know where to start. Thanks for this. :)

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