Keep Going: 7 Ways To Find Discipline & Fight Distractions

By Dominic Tarn

Anyone who thinks writing is easy, isn’t a writer. A few hours work, a little ‘creative thinking space’, involving a walk, a few friends, a few drinks. Then maybe some writing later on. It’s a nice image, but it’s very far from the truth. Writing is hard, writing is a discipline, a profession. Which is why to be a writer discipline is one of the more vital skills required.

“I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately I am inspired at 9 o’clock every morning.” William Faulkner.

It is easy to get distracted, especially in the world of social networks and 24/7 media. Here are a few ways you can get in the habit of writing, day in, day out.

  1. Set a block of time. Just saying, “I’m going to do some writing today,” is one thing, but to actually block book a slot of time in your diary and make sure nothing else gets in the way is another. That’s the best way to get started with a habit of writing however many words you set yourself within the timeframe you have.
  2. You will be resistant to starting. As Leo Babauta of Zenhabits writes (author and publisher of several books): “Let it go, and focus on just getting started. All you need to do is write the first few words — don’t worry about writing more than that.”
  3. There will never be a perfect time. Acknowledge this. Like starting a business, having a child or traveling, there’s always a dozen reasons why another time would be the ideal time. As Margaret Atwood said, “If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.”
  4. One page at a time. Within the sessions for writing you book remember that books are written one word, one page, at a time. Consistent action adds up and at the end of a long period of work you’ll come out the other side with a finished book.
  5. Befriend the right people. Surrounding yourself with fellow writers is a great way to feel inspired, but are they professionals or other pre-published writers, or is this just a hobby for them? Fellow aspiring pro’s or other already published authors are the best kind of people to get to know.
  6. Emotions lie. There’s always going to be other things to do, reasons why you can put off writing. The only way to get from the idea to the finished book is to put those emotions and excuses aside and write like your life depended on it.
  7. Just do it. Whatever your stumbling blocks, other things to do, distractions and commitments – it all comes down to how badly you need to keep writing, and maintaining discipline over the months or even years required to keep writing. At the end of the day you will have done something many only dream of, giving you the chance to share your thoughts, ideas and imagination with the world.

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