Friday, April 23, 2010

Who else hates the word discipline?

We talk a lot here at the Drunk writer blog, and more so over beers at our regular pub, about what makes for great writing. Seriously, we have analyzed the different components every which way.

We love to take apart our favourite books, figure out what maked them work, and hell, this is fun, usually because we're doing it over a few drinks and because it's how we learn to improve our own writing.

It's the fun part of writing. It's definitely one of my favourite parts. But discipline is the fundamental foundation writing is built on.
Discipline is what seperates the 'I'm writing a book when I have my weekends free again' people from the writers. Because aside from cool conversations over beer and sitting with a glass of wine, while you figure out the main points of a plot (seriously, I think I might sound like an alcoholic ) most of writing is one word, than the next, and then the next.

And then when you've put 90,000 words into your computer, you get to read them all again, and re-write many of those words. And then once you've done that, you get to re-read it all over again, and possibly again, re-write some of those words.

It doesn't sound sexy, and while a lot of this process is exhilerating at times, it can also be tedious. For example, reading all 90,000 words out loud, because it's the only way I can really catch all the basic mistakes in wording.

Discipline is opening the computer at 9pm at night, while Supernatural is on, or editing for twelve hours in a coffee shop because home has too many distractions, and not enough coffee.

It's the discipline that allows us to sit and talk at excrutiating length about pacing over beers.

And it doesn't matter where it comes from. Real deadlines, self imposed deadlines, treats, the disapproving faces of your critique partners, not being able to watch any of your favourite shows until you finish the bloody book.
It all works and it's all worthy.

And if I ever want to see Supernatural again, I have to go back to work.


Ryshia Kennie said...

I hate the word discipline too. It sounds so staid - a going nowhere kind of word. But I'm starting to get used to my alarm clock going off shortly after 6 a.m. on a weekend morning. And crazy inspiration or one word in front of the other - it does get a book done.

Stephanie Doyle said...

I only hate the word discipline...when it comes to food, wine, excersise and writing.

Other than that... I LOVE IT!

Right there with you Sinead.

I'm on page 45 and thinking how am I going to get to 445.

One page at a time and some discipline. Yuck.

Eileen said...

And yet, when I have a week like this past one, where other responsibilities have kept me from getting to the writing, I feel out of sorts. It's the downside to having lived with the discipline. It makes me feel all cranky and achy when I don't live by its rules.

I hate being a grown-up sometimes. :-(

Sinead M said...

Ryshia, I am seriously impressed.6 on the weekend is harcore discipline.
Eileen, being an adult is so much about discipline. Me, I have serious princess envy. I know a couple and by throwing a tantrum, things usually work the way they'd planned.

I would throw a tantrum but the only reaction I'd get would be laughter and ridicule.

Not sure where I went wrong.

Karen W said...

For me, discipine often equals conflict equals exhaustion. I have deadlines. I have a day job. I have to exercise. I have a husband and pets. I have to sleep (am I whining loudly enough yet?)

I had 120 pages of crap and started over. I'm on page 90 of the second attempt, with 37 days left to go. Sneaking in writing at the day job helps.

Yes, discipline sucks. But sometimes, it's all we have. (ok, that and the words and the vision)

Can you tell I'm tired? Forget the beer, I need a Margarita!

Maureen McGowan said...

Discipline is such a judgmental sounding word. I've read people saying it's better to think of it taking passion to keep you going through the tedious bits, too... Sometimes I agree with those people, sometimes I want to punch them. LOL.

But one thing that non-writers or hobby writers just don't understand is that it's not all fun. So much of it is hard, hard work. (Doing some of that really tedious stuff this week.)

Molly O'Keefe said...

wow I'm the odd ball - I LOVE the whole idea of discipline (almost as much as I do that you have "what maked them special" in the blog. You are talking to too many three years olds!!!!) Discipline makes me feel ninja and on top of everything. Though that said, it's another thing for me to feel guilty about on the bad days. Today for instance - we're all getting sick and it's the point where a solid hour long nap might actually fix me, but I have pages to write and exercise to, I ate a cupcake and scrapped everything. When my discipline goes it really really goes.

445 PAGES!!! Is that a joke? That's how long single titles are? You've got to be kidding me.

Molly O'Keefe said...

I also envy the princesses but now, I am beginning to see the magic of my mother in law who is the sneaky princess - she never throws a fit, she's in constant motion and somehow, she manages to herd us all to do her bidding. I'm going to study her habits...she's in my house right now, getting my kids to make home made birthday cards and eat vegetables at the same time...see? It's freaking crazy!

Right, but we were talking about writing...

Sinead M said...

Damn, I wondered who would catch the Maked... it serves me right for writing a blog after 10pm at night..

I love the idea of discipline, but in practice.... it's a whole different kettle of fish
Because discipline means not eating the half ton of chocolate left over from Easter, and it means checking for all the grammar errors in my manuscript one more time...

Stephanie Doyle said...

Molly - 445 was only for the purpose of illustration...

350 and you're good.

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