The Discipline of Writing


I get into this entitlement mode a lot. It started with cleaning. I would bust my butt to get, say, the kitchen cleaned. And I would totally go for it, all the dishes, the fridge, sink, floors, microwave, stove, the whole bit. But then, I would be so exhausted from all my work, that I would feel entitled to not touch the kitchen (other than make meals in it) for a week. By then, the kitchen would be so messed up, that I would HAVE to do a deep clean that would then wipe me out… you get it.

I just realized last night that I’ve totally done this with my writing. I graduated in June, but spent most of the summer revising my senior project so that it could be perfect when I submitted it. I was so sick of writing by the time I turned it in, that I gave myself permission to stop writing for a while. OK, I’ve also had a few really good excuses (Jonathan, Hannah and the birth of Joshua), but still, if writing is going to be my profession, it would probably be a good idea for me to keep working on it, right?

Five minutes into “Julie/Julia” last night, I was crying my eyes out as I totally identified with Julie, the almost-30-year-old writer of half a novel (OK, I’d had a rough day, Josh had screamed every time I tried to put him down, and I had just drank a beer a little too fast). Anyways, in my identifying with this Julie character, I realized that her solution could work for me, too. If you haven’t seen the movie, basically, she decides to cook through Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” in a year. That’s not what I’m going to do (although Anthony thinks this would be a great idea). The second thing that she did was that she would blog every day about her cooking adventures. Every day, for a year, she sat down and wrote something. Hmmm.

When I was in Creative Writers at Cal Poly, one of the guest authors who talked with us mentioned a writing exercise that he had found helpful: he would set a timer for 15 minutes and write anything that came to his mind for that 15 minutes. Sometimes he would spend it on an actual story he was working on, and other times it would just be whatever he was thinking, but the point is, he would write.

Now, I’m a HUGE fan of timers. I use mine all the time (otherwise I’d totally forget the laundry in the garage until we were out of socks). I think I might have adult ADD, because as a flit through the house, intent on getting one chore completed, I get totally distracted by other things. But, if I decide to focus on one task, I set my timer and stick with it until I hear the buzzer.  It’s a trick I’ve learned from the FlyLady; I can do anything for 15 minutes. Including writing.

I don’t currently have any stories to work on (I’m waiting for God to give me a Stephenie Meyer-type dream – you’ve read her inspiration story, right?), but I’m gonna start disciplining myself to write for 15 minutes a day. I probably won’t blog every episode (you’d probably not want to read all my ramblings everyday), but I certainly will be blogging more.

This has been day one!

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About daniellaindie

I'm Anthony’s wife, and mother to Jonathan, Hannah, Joshua, and Isabella. When not making PBJs and cleaning, I like to write, immerse myself in a good book, play my piano, or plan epic couponing trips.

Posted on December 30, 2009, in Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Way to go, Dani! Some of us are up at 5:00 every day to write (ok, maybe 6:00 on a bad day) and I will be thinking of you then. A blog will keep you disciplined and soon inspiration will be more then you can handle. Of course, other days there will be nothing but ramblings.
    I’m looking forward to hearing about your journey.
    Susan

  2. Inspiration to all us procrastinators, Dani! I think as you blog, you might have a clearer mind for all those other things you’ve got to focus on!

    Hope Joshua learns to enjoy the sound of the computer keyboard as Hannah and Jonathan have the piano keyboard! love!

  3. It’s like our boats are taped together and we’re paddling in the same direction, Dani. 🙂 Just know I’ll be thinking of you over my morning coffee as I jab away at the computer keyboard…

  4. Daniel Tomlinson

    Wow! I love your WordPress! Can’t wait to read more! I’m sure I don’t have to encourage you to write from reading above blog!

    And you are a female Daniel! 🙂 Karma is good.

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