Traits of the Successful Author—Self-Discipline

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Self-discipline can be tricky.

Last week, I talked about the first trait of the successful author, discernment. I deliberately addressed discernment first because discernment keeps us in balance. No amount of “success” is worth our peace, our health or our relationships.

Also, we’ll need discernment to manage the second trait of the successful author—self-discipline. Why? Because even self-discipline needs to be disciplined. Sometimes we need to re-prioritize.

For instance, last week, my mom went in for emergency surgery. She’s fine and home now and THANK YOU for all your love, prayers and well-wishes. I also had a niece graduating from high school. I took off a few days because I was exhausted from edits, anxiety over my mom and racing across town from hospital to graduation. Self-discipline can easily become like a religious legalism, and we need to guard against that to be healthy and successful long-term.

Mom won Miss Congeniality of Harris Southwest Hospital

Mom won Miss Congeniality of Harris Southwest Hospital

No speeding ticket racing from hospital to graduation.

No speeding ticket racing from hospital to graduation.

But we still have to be self-disciplined if we want to be successful authors (or anything else).

I confess. For a long time I was lazy. I was blessed with a sharp mind, so I’d gotten through school writing papers the night before, sliding by, and dazzling with BS and glitter. I thought I had to “feel” like doing something to do it. I needed to be “in the mood” to clean, write, study, do dishes, etc. I let emotions drive my decisions and actions.

And emotions cannot drive. Seriously. Emotions text and look at Facebook when they drive.

I have a saying, “Small truths reveal larger truths.” If we can’t take control over a pile of laundry, how can we take control of our writing futures? Back then, I thought everything had to be BIG. I wrote the ten-page paper in ONE day. Cleaned the ENTIRE house in ONE afternoon. Planted ALL the flowers in the ENTIRE yard in ONE morning.

…and half-killed myself in the process only to have shoddy, short-term success.

I didn’t understand that there are five keys to being self-disciplined.

1. Baby Steps are Steps

Small decisions/actions add up over time. Yes, this blog has a large, active and amazing following, but that didn’t happen overnight. I had to blog even when it seemed I was only talking to the ether and the male-enhancement products. Every novel is written one word at a time, one page at a time, one day at a time. Trust that consistent action eventually adds up and that eventually you’ll break past The Dip.

Can you tell when I broke past The Blogging Dip? And this snapshot was taken almost TWO YEARS into blogging.

Can you tell when I broke past The Blogging Dip? And this snapshot was taken almost TWO YEARS into blogging.

2. Excellence Begets Greater Excellence

Making our bed is a start. Really. Good habits have a way of birthing more good habits. Plant a seed and watch it grow. When we get in a writing routine, soon we find that we will write more words for longer stretches. We need practice to be masters of our craft. Focus on positive goals.

3. Be Careful Who You Befriend

If you want to be a professional, careful hanging out with too many amateurs. When I say amateur, I don’t mean unpublished (pre-published) writers. I mean writers who are hobbyists. If you’re in a writing group, and it might as well be a coffee klatshe? Find another group or create one on WANATribe.

This is why conferences are vital. Meet authors who are at that professional level and soak up some pro-mojo. Join a local chapter of RWA (Romance Writers of America) even if you don’t write romance. Those folks are SERIOUS when it comes to writing, and will crack the whip and whip you into pro form.

4. Don’t Let Emotions Vote

Emotions LIE. Don’t listen to them. Emotions are self-centered and don’t understand why you can’t pay attention to them 24/7. Expect them to throw a fit and want to live on candy and pizza. Ignore them and eventually they will stop kicking their feet and go watch cartoons.

5. Just Do It

Yep. Says it all. Butt in seat. It writes the words or it gets the hose *pets fluffy white dog*

What stumbling blocks do you guys face? What challenges? Any tips or tricks to share? Great books to read about self-discipline? What is your success story? I want to hear! Are you a reformed slacker, too? Do you try to do too much all at one time?

I love hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of June, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.

At the end of June I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!

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  1. #1 by bottledworder on June 10, 2013 - 10:47 am

    I always find your little nuggets of advice so inspiring. Yes, writing is a profession like anything else and you can’t let emotions drive you. But it’s so hard to keep a positive mindset and focus on those baby steps. And there’s always the danger of becoming a hobbyist.

  2. #2 by Jess Witkins on June 10, 2013 - 10:52 am

    I really need #4 tattoed on my forehead. That’s the one that gets in my way. I have to treat writing like a job or I will find any excuse not to sit down and actually do it. There’s dishes to wash and movies to watch before they’re due back at the library! That’s why, like you said, conferences and writing groups are great because they keep you accountable to the work and continuing to push forward.

    Glad your mom’s ok and everyone had a great time at the graduation!

  3. #3 by jeanlauzier on June 10, 2013 - 10:53 am

    Self-discipline – obviously I have problems with this since I’m here instead of revising. Back before I had wifi, I didn’t allow myself to get online until I’d met my word count for the day. It really helped…maybe I need to set up my wifi to only connect when I tell it to. :-)

  4. #4 by Dennis Langley on June 10, 2013 - 10:57 am

    Absolutely right. Difficult, but right. I’m scheduled for my first conference two weeks from now. Very excited and anxious at the same time.

  5. #5 by dereklubangakene on June 10, 2013 - 10:58 am

    Does being one of the first to comment get me any extra points? Just kidding!

    Anyway, self discipline, to me is the most important trait of any writer, the rest can be learned later.
    Nothing beats planting your behind infront of the word processor and not leaving til you’ve banged out the wordcount. Sometimes the wordcount comes easy, most times not. But there are no exceptions to the rule.

    I haven’t read any book on self-discipline, but i’ll recommend my writing bible; ON WRITING by Stephen King

  6. #6 by dereklubangakene on June 10, 2013 - 11:00 am

    First of all, brilliant post.

    Anyway, self discipline, to me is the most important trait of any writer, the rest can be learned later.
    Nothing beats planting your behind infront of the word processor and not leaving til you’ve banged out the wordcount. Sometimes the wordcount comes easy, most times not. But there are no exceptions to the rule.

    I haven’t read any book on self-discipline, but i’ll recommend my writing bible; ON WRITING by Stephen King

  7. #7 by reneemaynes on June 10, 2013 - 11:03 am

    The hardest challenge for me is figuring out how my time is best spent. I joined a critique group because everyone said it was the right thing to do. After looking objectively at what I was getting out of it (because I was putting a lot into it), I felt the other participants were more interested in being told their writing was great and all I was getting for feedback was comma placement. Once I was honest with myself, I realized that making the crit group a priority wasn’t in my best interests. Dropping out gave me more time to focus on the things that mattered.

  8. #8 by cynthiagrstacey on June 10, 2013 - 11:08 am

    Another awesome piece of advice Kristen. I sent you my critique as I was the winner of your wonderful contest fro may. I Was wondering if you can send me back a reply that you received it, so I know It didn’t get lost in cyberspace. cynthia2729@live.ca If not I can resend. thanks so much.

  9. #10 by addgoddess on June 10, 2013 - 11:12 am

    I love your blog so, so much. I love what I learn and I appreciate your humour and sense of fun that can be found in every post. You have really helped me as I’ve been working on my manuscript. After sending a few query letters to agents and publishers I have recently had a publisher ask to see my manuscript. I’m on the edge of my seat here and want to send my thanks for your wisdom and encouragement. Love you!

  10. #11 by Melissa Lewicki on June 10, 2013 - 11:12 am

    I love that baby steps are steps. I am still taking baby steps–but I am taking them every day. Thanks for another great post.

  11. #12 by broadsideblog on June 10, 2013 - 11:36 am

    Great post.

    The problem with writing is that so many people expect it (why?) to be fun and easy, especially if it is not how they earn a living. If they do earn a living working for someone else (versus freelance or self-employment), they have not necessarily had to ever develop much self-discipline in this regard, so it is difficult and unfamiliar and lonely!

    The world is also filled with cute distractions, from your kids and pets and partner to hobbies, TV….anything!

    I work alone at home as a full-time writer, and have since 2006 (the most recent stint.) Monday mornings are hell as I start work again, so I take a 9:30 .a.m jazz dance class to get me going and make me feel less lonely and meh about starting up the production line.

  12. #13 by authorleannedyck on June 10, 2013 - 11:48 am

    What challenges do I face?
    Years ago I would have a quick answer to that question—I have dyslexia. Then I imagined saying that to Agatha Christie, Jules Vern and John Irving—all of whom had/have dyslexia, all of whom were/are prolific authors. Everyone has a mountain to climb. Climb it.

  13. #14 by katmagendie on June 10, 2013 - 11:51 am

    I try to do too much at one time – I’m one of those “marathon house cleaners” – I will exhaust myself and not even know I’m exhausting myself until I stop and go “Huh? Wha?”

    One of the biggest mistakes I made when it came to one of my books was trying to “do too much” and meet my deadline — my brother was very ill; my stepfather was also very ill – both in the hospital at the same time! I was in Texas, where they live, for a while helping out, and instead of asking for more time to finish the book, I rushed through it to make my deadline. It’s the one book I truly do have regrets about – only my second published book. If I had it to do over again, I’d ask for that deadline and take more care with that book.

    I’m learning to step back and take some time. And not feel as if I have to do it all and be it all and have it all perfect.

    Lawd.

  14. #15 by Jodi on June 10, 2013 - 12:28 pm

    A successful writer friend of mine has the mantra “BIC HOK TAM” it stands for Butt in chair, hands on keyboard, typing away madly. When its time to write, write. Consistently. Everyday. Great post, as always!

  15. #16 by Sarah Martinez on June 10, 2013 - 12:44 pm

    I once read an article directed at people who work at home. It addressed balance which I am always striving for. What stuck was this: making the space for work and then racking up time in the saddle– doing the work appropriate for that particular space. For example, my desk space, (particularly in the early morning hours!) in my office is best for MY writing, directing MY creative energy. November is such a wonderful reminder of how to infuse my space with all that hard working mojo.
    I do National Novel Writing Month every year, and every year it reminds me how much I can accomplish with the butt in the chair and everything else turned off. The more publishing commitments I take on, the better this is for me since “writing stuff” can so easily turn into editing for others, doing promotional work and all the rest.
    The flip side is that the kitchen counter, the living room coffee table and the deck chairs should be reserved for family time, relaxing, reading…facebook, twitter, whatever else that means I am off the clock.
    Starbucks is still up for grabs apparently. :)
    I am by no means always good at keeping these separate, but I find that keeping the work and play spaces distinct is often the only way I have been able to either work or relax during those times I am completely overwhelmed and/or burned out.

    Thanks for the post!

  16. #17 by kanmuri on June 10, 2013 - 12:50 pm

    It seems you live in my head. Something goes wrong or I feel a certain way, you address the issue within the week. Always a pleaure to read you.

    • #18 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 10, 2013 - 2:11 pm

      Thank you. We ALL struggle with this. It’s never going away. We are not alone, for sure! I am just thrilled that I can give back to you guys the way other writer/bloggers gave to me when I was new and struggling.

  17. #19 by Helen Landalf on June 10, 2013 - 12:57 pm

    One of my challenges is that when I get too rigid about my writing routines, writing stops being fun. One way around this I’ve found is to grab my laptop and go write somewhere other than my house. It could be the coffee shop down the street, where I reward myself with a cup of my favorite green tea, or even another neighborhood. The change of scenery makes writing feel less like drudgery and more like a fun date with myself.

  18. #20 by Erica on June 10, 2013 - 1:04 pm

    Another great big shiny pearl of wisdom. How you whip these out so quickly is beyond me. And inspirational. Thank you.

    I finally got my butt in the chair this past Saturday to draft a children’s book. It’s a contract ghost writing (long story) and the story itself had been rolling around in my head for a couple of months. Finally finally finally I just sat down to write it.

    Despite the sunny weather. Despite the dishes. Despite the wedding planning I have to get done. Despite the fiance who was watching YouTube videos of our honeymoon destination – Disney World.

    I finished the draft and sent it in. It wasn’t until yesterday evening that it hit me. “Hey, I just wrote a book.”

    Now I can’t help but imagine what I could do on my own silly behalf if I would just sit down and write my own story. So, guess what I’m doing this Saturday? Grabbing a notebook and heading to a local beach to just sit and write :)

  19. #21 by annerallen on June 10, 2013 - 1:08 pm

    Wise advice. I especially like your point about staying away from amateurs if you want to be a professional. These are different roads and you don’t want to get sidetracked. There’s nothing wrong with being a “happy amateur” but you’ll get advice from them that will hold you back if you want to be on a career track.

  20. #22 by Shea Ford on June 10, 2013 - 1:25 pm

    So glad your mom is doing better! :D

    Yep, I’m a procrastinator. My little sis is one of those lucky people who was blessed with a near photographic memory. She hardly had to study and always got straight A’s. Growing up, even though I had plenty of study that needed doing, I fell into the habit of putting it off, so that we could do our “sister things.” I still struggle to get out of that, but I’m definitely better than I use to be! :D

  21. #23 by Julie on June 10, 2013 - 1:37 pm

    You said: “I confess. For a long time I was lazy. I was blessed with a sharp mind, so I’d gotten through school writing papers the night before, sliding by, and dazzling with BS and glitter. I thought I had to “feel” like doing something to do it. I needed to be “in the mood” to clean, write, study, do dishes, etc. I let emotions drive my decisions and actions. And emotions cannot drive. Seriously. Emotions text and look at Facebook when they drive.”

    I love this quote so much. I had no idea other people were like this, too. I want to write. I read all the time about writing, and constantly think of interesting stories. But when I try to sit down and write, nothing comes out. NOTHING. Is is possible to start out in a dip?

    • #24 by Author Kristen Lamb on June 10, 2013 - 2:13 pm

      Start with your antagonist. Create a problem, then cast who solves it, how they get dragged in and why they’re the one who can be the hero.

      • #25 by Julie on June 11, 2013 - 11:52 am

        Thank you!

  22. #26 by Nicole on June 10, 2013 - 2:19 pm

    I am completely a reformed slacker, and I’m not always reformed! I used to write papers the night before not just because I could but because, if I started them early, I always decided I hated them and started over from scratch the night before anyway, so why bother starting early? Then I had kids and learned that things that must get done must get done little by little over and over, not all at once in a flood, or I’ll never get to eat, sleep, read, exercise, play with my kids, or see my husband and that big goals require baby steps.

  23. #27 by Jackie Vick on June 10, 2013 - 2:33 pm

    My problem is I get too many projects going and then my energies are scattered and I give up. I have to work on taking a few baby steps instead of a zillion baby steps, all leading in different directions!

  24. #28 by Diana Beebe on June 10, 2013 - 3:00 pm

    Baby steps…I’m still taking them! My biggest challenge is still taking on too much. I did get myself out of one big volunteer thing, but I took on another one. *shakes head*

    My daughter seemed to think that my day wasn’t planned out. I went down this list of all the things I do and am responsible for and when I carve out time for writing. The blissful ignorance of teens. She was quiet after that. :-D

  25. #29 by Joe Owens on June 10, 2013 - 3:18 pm

    I love coming to your blog for the usual pick me up. I am seeing positive movement on my blog, but I do not think i am past the dip. As far as joining some groups I have found a couple of good ones. I like the connections and knowledge share and see the benefits. Thanks for being the beacon of hope for all of writer’s who are still climbing this seemingly endless ladder.

  26. #30 by Ann Brown on June 10, 2013 - 3:40 pm

    I have good self discipline, but I spread myself too thin. Lately, I’ve been sleeping through my alarm, or I must be smacking it off in my sleep. ?? My routine is to write from 3-6 am, but lately…ZZZZzzzz.

  27. #31 by MishaBurnett on June 10, 2013 - 4:04 pm

    Reblogged this on mishaburnett and commented:
    Yeah, what she said.

  28. #32 by Laurie Boris on June 10, 2013 - 4:16 pm

    This is so great, Kristen, thank you. I’ve stepped up my game some by hanging with people who push me to raise the bar on my writing. It works! :D

  29. #33 by laurieboris on June 10, 2013 - 4:18 pm

    Reblogged this on Laurie Boris, Freelance Writer and commented:
    This blog from Kristen Lamb inspired me today. Hanging with writer friends who push me to raise the bar on my work and DON’T let me slack off have made such a difference in my writing. They inspire me, too.

  30. #34 by lackofharmony on June 10, 2013 - 5:42 pm

    My emotions were what drove my writing when I was in a bad place. Yeah, it wasn’t the best writing ever, but it was what kept me whole at that time. Since I let them do all the driving, now I can’t figure out what direction I’m going in with writing. It’s a strange thing that I have no clue how to fix. I’m going to have to share this with friends. Great article.

  31. #35 by jtailele on June 10, 2013 - 5:51 pm

    Reblogged this on Writing Under Fire and commented:
    This is excellent reading. Thanks for letting me reblog.

  32. #36 by nbw8 on June 10, 2013 - 6:04 pm

    This is such a basic thing but something that I have to reminded of again and again until I shift my mindset for good. I’m horrible about baby steps but have recently started to realize just how powerful they are. Thanks for bringing this important concept to the front of my mind again.

  33. #37 by Tamara LeBlanc on June 10, 2013 - 7:03 pm

    Kristen, I’m so glad to hear your mother is doing well. That’s great news :)
    I’m definitely a reformed slacker. I used to take weeks and sometimes months off of writing. But now I’m no longer a hobbyist author. I’m a professional! I write daily and try and learn as much as I can from great blogs like this one. I also attend my local Georgia Romance Writers meetings, and as many RWA national conferences as possible.
    I still stumble sometimes though. I’m not perfect and occasionally I get side tracked.
    The way I get past this? Sit butt in chair. It never fails. If I sit butt in chair I can and DO write.
    Thanks for your wisdom!!
    Have a wonderful evening :)
    Tamara

  34. #38 by laurie27wsmith on June 10, 2013 - 7:51 pm

    Baby steps. My wordpress graph looked like the Dow Jones industrial average in the 30′s. You eventually break through but it’s only because you have done the work, kept writing and blogging. At one stage I received more spam than likes (at least someone cared), then I changed tack. I stopped writing about books and wrote about my experiences, put photos up and poetry. My books have their own sub heading and if people go there, good. if not there’s still plenty to see.
    Cheers
    Laurie.

  35. #39 by Amber Dane on June 10, 2013 - 7:57 pm

    Needed to read this today. 3,4 and 5…have to work at this harder. Thank you for the tips!

  36. #40 by dgstovall1 on June 10, 2013 - 7:57 pm

    Kristen, Good to know your mom is recovering. These blogs are so helpful for those of us in the early period of a writing career which is probably the loneliest period. It’s the time of major self-doubt, disapproving relatives, and friends feeling neglected because they don’t understand how “this writing thing” can come before going out for beer with them. I’ve been turning off my phone a lot lately.

  37. #41 by Joanna Aislinn on June 10, 2013 - 8:36 pm

    Always inspired by the TRUTH of what you put out there, Kristen. Glad your mom is improved–of course she’d be the unit’s Mrs. Congeniality–look who her daughter is!

    Think I’m in a bit of re-prioritizing state myself. And oh, what I wouldn’t do for time that I get to construct and schedule myself. What I have is so limited, I can’t find a start point sometimes.

    Take care and maybe I’ll see you in the city in July!

  38. #42 by acflory on June 10, 2013 - 8:44 pm

    -raises hand- Another reformed slacker here. For far too long, writing was just something I did because I could. Now I write, a little every day, because that is who and what I am – a writer.

  39. #43 by Lara S. Chase on June 10, 2013 - 9:34 pm

    Thanks for the encouragement to keep plugging away, but also the subtle reminder to rest. I, too, enjoy writing enough that the working hard isn’t always the problem as much as the resting. I don’t have deadlines for getting things done. I have deadlines for when I have to stop each day, otherwise my poor husband might forget what I look like.

  40. #44 by Nicky Moxey on June 11, 2013 - 2:40 am

    Glad your Mom’s on the mend! I have a rule that I do 5 mins. of writing (or editing) every day. 5 mins isn’t so scary, and is achievable whatever chaos is occurring; then of course once I’ve sat down, it may well turn into a couple of hours, and get me into trouble for not coming to bed on time…

  41. #45 by darsword on June 11, 2013 - 3:44 am

    Glad your mother is better and that you made it to the graduation. As usual you hit the nail on my head! Reblogging so my friends can share the wisdom. :-)

  42. #46 by darsword on June 11, 2013 - 3:45 am

    Reblogged this on Darswords and commented:
    As always with Kriten Lamb’s blog: Words of Wisdom!

  43. #47 by neenslewy on June 11, 2013 - 4:21 am

    Another fantastically inspiring post! The bottom line – bums in seats (no pun!) write – just do it – great to share your blog stats too – people get very hung up over those. Looking at what the beginning was like for you is amazing- especially for those of us who only started blogging and following this year!
    A great share. Thank you.

  44. #48 by Julie Glover on June 11, 2013 - 7:10 am

    Great points! I also think that who you hang out with matters. Now if you’re a hobbyist writer, fine. But if you’re trying to make a living from this, you need to be rubbing elbows with like-minded people. I’ve learned SO MUCH from fellow writers that I can no longer imagine this journey without them.

    And since I’m in the midst of a major novel rewrite, I’d probably add that self-discipline includes not just writing but a willingness to revise your writing until it’s good enough to publish. I feel like too many writers jump the gun and don’t spend the time needed to hone their craft and their novel. Wonderful post, Kristen!

  45. #49 by wordsavant on June 11, 2013 - 8:11 am

    I really needed to hear #1. Sometimes I wonder, “Is anybody reading this?” It certainly does take baby steps. With each post I get a few more followers. You just have to keep plugging away!

  46. #50 by divorceddoodling on June 11, 2013 - 8:23 am

    This was exactly how I used to do things. Driven by my emotions – never ‘feeling like’. The triumph lay in meeting that last minute deadline, moving all the furniture around the living room singlehanded because there was noone to help and I ‘felt like’. Not writing because I wasn’t ‘in the mood’ after taking care of the kids needs and the dog and, and, and…
    But, like you, that has changed. My blog is nowhere near as succesful as this one, but I know I’m getting there. Bit by bit. Because I work at it everyday. In between writing my book. And I only go on facebook to promote my blog. And to say hello to a couple of friends. Ten minutes. That’s all.
    Fantastic blog – so encouraging. Can’t wait for the next post.

  47. #51 by happyfamilytravels on June 11, 2013 - 9:18 am

    Just found your blog from a retweet of someone I follow…
    Great post…thanks for the inspiration and tips!

  48. #52 by jimrada on June 11, 2013 - 11:21 am

    Great blog! Sometimes I just don’t want to write, but I tell myself, “If I don’t do it, who will?”

  49. #53 by jimrada on June 11, 2013 - 11:22 am

    Reblogged this on Whispers in the Wind and commented:
    One of the major qualities needed not only by writers but anyone who is self-employed.

  50. #54 by tammyjpalmer on June 11, 2013 - 3:09 pm

    I have to agree with the advice to surround yourself with serious writers. My critique group is full of people who spend very little time actually writing, and are mostly unpublished. I keep going for the good conversation. When I joined RWA I found writers who are dedicated to learning the craft, whether they are newbies or multi-published authors and this has been very motivating. I can’t agree with the good habits idea though. If I made my bed every day, kept my house clean, and did all those healthy things that take way too much time I’d never get any writing done. Got to have priorities!

  51. #56 by danielocceno on June 11, 2013 - 4:22 pm

    I agree with needing the environment to succeed. I am sure every writer has their negatives to deal with; I live on the Baby Steps or Minor Victories for self-gratification. I just published a travel article so it gives me hope that I could publish a novel. I am in the mental state similar to wanting my short stories for children wanting it published in a magazine back on 2000. My strategy was to write as many as I can (shorts) and start submitting. After several years of many rejection letters I published with a local contest junior college journalism class magazine. It was used to teach how to produce a professional magazine. The stories and articles and art work and photographs were selected (name withheld) by the students with a sponsoring journalism teacher. I ended up with three short stories for children, published, before I had to leave the area. I am taking the same approach with my novels, write it and send it somewhere. Self-discipline, I will need to keep writing and to complete it and to send the novel.

  52. #57 by Tarla Kramer on June 12, 2013 - 12:30 am

    I love the stuff you say about emotions, imagine there’s a bit of Joyce Meyer in there too!

  53. #59 by sharonholly on June 12, 2013 - 1:03 am

    I tend to deal in those extremes you mentioned. Write an entire paper the night before it’s due, clean the entire house in one shot, spend all night catching up on one thing or another…

    Self-discipline has always been something I’ve struggled with, for as long as I can remember. I think my biggest obstacle is my tendency towards a downward spiraling mood. I haven’t quite figured out the solution yet, but I find when I’m overwhelmed, making a list of all the baby steps helps a little.

    Glad you are covering this topic :)

  54. #60 by pamelacreese on June 12, 2013 - 3:55 pm

    this was very apt right now…so THANK YOU. Glad your mom is better. Congrats on the brilliant niece (she must take after her aunt) I have had a whirlwind on insanity in my life of late, and my writing has taken a backseat to funerals, graduations, car wrecks (not mine…teenagers), and on and on… I felt terrible that I lacked the discipline to push through and keep writing.
    Life happens. Now I am back to a dull roar of the ‘normal’ insanity and I am writing again. Thank you for allowing me to feel “all right” with that.
    And for reminding me, sometimes we need to ‘cull’ a few writing buddies to make sure we all take our craft seriously.

  55. #61 by Rachelle on June 13, 2013 - 3:10 pm

    Great advice! And you’re right; baby steps are the way to go. Learning self-discipline is a discipline in and of itself.

  56. #62 by lindseymeredith84 on June 16, 2013 - 9:17 am

    Loved this post. Was exactly what I needed to hear as I try to break through the editing barrier of my NaNo novel from last year. So happy I found your blog!

  57. #63 by feltenk on June 19, 2013 - 9:49 am

    Excellent post!

  58. #64 by lythya on June 19, 2013 - 3:37 pm

    Self-discipline is key, definitely. I’ve done sprints many times, I grab myself by the neck and push through. I did it with math before entering my current school. I got from second lowest grade to second highest. I was about to fail German and got it to the second highest grade. I didn’t get physics and sat down for three days and read everything twice and had my friend studying physics explain a bunch of stuff to me. I ended up with highest grade.
    I love creating my own schedule. it works for me – as soon as I pull myself together. Sigh. This reading break I’m not doing very well, though …

  59. #65 by mentzer2150 on June 19, 2013 - 6:22 pm

    All too often I hear people say to me, I don’t have time to write; they’re always too busy. Being busy isn’t an excuse. Too many people want to take time off just to write but then find every excuse not to write. Everything else suddenly becomes more important. Even when you’re busy, you look for ways to squeeze in some writing time. Get up 30 minutes earlier or stay up 30 minutes later. Limit the number times you go onto the internet or look at e-mail.

  60. #66 by denizb33 on June 20, 2013 - 8:51 am

    Just do it. This is the one I struggle with, especially when it comes to editing. Writing is easy and fun, but darn, fixing up all the first draft words, that’s what takes discipline!

  61. #67 by theforestscribe on June 21, 2013 - 1:05 pm

    Finally a blog that doesn’t muck about and is interesting too! Thank you, keep writing and we’ll keep reading.

  62. #68 by Sarah Saunders on June 23, 2013 - 5:54 am

    Oh Kristen your blogs are going to become my personal butt-kicking instruments. It is harsh truth for someone who both over does it and procrastinates in equal amounts. I find I am always doing things for other people or obsessing over things that are not personally important to me while making excuses for why the things that matter, like family and writing can wait.

  63. #69 by Robbi Thornburg Starnegg on June 24, 2013 - 9:59 am

    Yikes. Through a random “successful disciplines for writing” Google search, I tripped over your blog. Now I am doing the V-8 head slap. So much time in my life has been wasted NOT writing due to laziness. “Hello, I’m Robbi, and I’m a lazy writer.” You can bet I will voraciously devour every painful truth you write. Baby steps are steps…. Thanks.

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  4. Traits of the Successful Author—Self-Discipline | Tales From The Fifth Tower
  5. You Get No Second Chance | Story Check
  6. Editing Lessons | Margaret Pinard, Writer

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