Training and control of oneself and one's conduct, usually for personal improvement.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2011
So, you want to be a writer? Join the club, kiddo! Consider yourself one of too many millions to count. Everyone and his/her cousin seems to think they’ve got a bestselling novel inside ‘em somewhere and all they need to do is “write it down.” Till they actually do sit down and start putting words on paper or ‘puter screen, that is. Then’s when reality hits and why writing sites like ours are always flooded with threads from “nooriterguy” and “hemingwaydeux” and “gunnabefamus” like:
“How do you guys find time to write?”
“Why can’t I stop overwriting everything?”
“Need tips on how to finish a story!”
“What’s the best way to avoid using clichés?”
...and so on.
Which makes more seasoned writers on the site have to keep repeating themselves over and over and over again, handing out the same answers/advice in thread after thread, since the noobs (as in “new” and not to be confused with the derogatory “boobs”) don’t bother to do a site search and find the scores of clone threads others of their ilk have already put up on the topics, before starting yet another new one.
I dare say (nice old-timey expression, that, doncha think?) it’s too much to hope this article might at least slow down the procession of repeats, but I’ll put it out here for the one or two of you it could enlighten a tad, anyway. Here’s the thing... (as the delightfully manic Mr. Monk was wont to say)
The one “must-have” besides a modicum of talent and good writing skills, that no would-be writer can possibly succeed without is that thing defined up there at the top. How do we “serious” writers find time to write? We make ourselves find time. That’s how. Why can’t the pleaders for a magic cure stop over-writing everything? Because they don’t make themselves stop doing it. That’s why. What can starters of scores of stories and books do, to actually finish one? They can force themselves to keep writing one until they finish it, not let themselves start anything new till they’ve finished something old. That’s what.
How can you avoid using clichés? Make yourself stop! That’s how.
All it takes is that old-fashioned, seemingly out of favor these days, “self-discipline” that so few who want to be writers seem to want to bother using, if they have it, or acquiring, if they don’t. It beats me, why. What’s so blamed hard about making a decision to do or not do something that won’t hurt and can do you a merde-pot full of good? I fear it may be connected to the fact that we’re irredeemably entrenched in the “Easy Age” that followed hot on the heels of the “Instant Age” and made the kids growing up in either one think everything’s gotta happen right now and all’s gotta be easy as pie, or it’s not worth diddley-squat.
Whatever is the cause, I’m here to tell you all that if you want to succeed as a writer of anything, you’ll hafta smack yourself upside the head and pound a goodly portion of self-discipline into it. Or wake it up, if it’s been there all along and you let it do a Van Winkle. That’s the word from mamma—for now.
Love ‘n hugs, maïa
PS: Offering tips for how to go about acquiring and keeping self-discipline operational is beyond me, since I was blessedly cursed with it from birth, apparently. So, if anyone has any, please hit the “comments” button and toss ‘em out here.