On Discipline and Simple Math

On Discipline and Simple Math - Contra Spem ScriboDaily Writing June 27, 2018

Too busy moving and unpacking and settling to write. I know people can write in such circumstances, but I’m not one of them. I’m a low-energy person and instability drains me too much. It doesn’t help that getting used to a new place disrupts my sleep, and that gives me headaches. Gosh, I’m starting to think that having a vacation is a good thing, after all, despite spending almost a day on a road.

On the other hand…

While packing, I found my old notebook with notes from Dean Wesley Smith’s lectures. I don’t have it with me right now—it’s still in some box—but I believe it is about productivity. You can find it on Teachable: https://wmg-publishing-workshops-and-lectures.teachable.com/

Here what I wrote down at the time:

If you write 15 minutes a day, it’s about 200-250 words. If you can’t do that because you sit staring at the screen, that’s another problem which I address later.

15 min/day = 200 w/day = 1400 w/week. If you want to have one day off, it’s still 1200-1500 words a week.

Let’s say you want a two-week vacation (as at any other job), so we have 50 weeks: 60 000 – 75 000 words a year, which is a normal-size novel.

In short:

15 minutes/day = a novel/year.

Simple? Yes. Easy? Oh God no.

Little as it is, writing 200 words a day consistently is surprisingly hard. Call it a writer’s block or lack of ideas or laziness, but this simple math doesn’t work for tons of aspiring writers. I’m one of them right now—the disruption of moving struck hard and I don’t write right now (though again, this post is also writing and should be counted too). But the point I want to make is:

It’s a matter of discipline

Even if your head is empty when you sit to write, the discipline of seating yourself to write is very important. You might not write today—but as long as you know it’s a writing time, the words will come. That’s why I’m not worried about not knowing what to write, or not having ideas, and so on. What is more dangerous, is when I sit down to write—and immediately get distracted by an email or cats or my kid, or I suddenly have an urge to do some chores—right now.

Anything but writing. And I even know exactly what to do: I have whole passages formed in my head that only need to be put down on paper. Discipline. Carving time. Butt in the chair.

Why is it so hard then?

I honestly have no idea. Yes, I have real obstacles right now, but that’s only two hundred words! I used to write 2000 during NaNoWriMo, and 1000 for a couple of months after that.

Anyway, I know I will restart at some point, and by the time of this year’s NaNo I will either start a new project or skip it because I will be editing. But I do wish I could go back to at least 200 words already.

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