By mammamaia on Jun 10, 2013 at 5:00 PM
  1. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Nov 21, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Coquille, Oregon

    Get Hold o' Yourself!

    Discussion in 'Articles' started by mammamaia, Jun 10, 2013.

    self-dis·ci·pline n.

    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.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 15, 2013


Discussion in 'Articles' started by mammamaia, Jun 10, 2013.

    1. melindagrady7
      lol. Self-discipline step one 'o' one you have to really want it in the first place. Step two, set mini goals, e.g. ten minutes a day spent on reworking old cliches.
    2. Dresden260
      Calling people "boobs" is the best part of teaching someone discipline. :) No one wants to be called a boob... well maybe a few.
    3. jazzabel
      Excellent article maia. I don't think there's a better tip than in the comment above - you have to really want it. It's the same as everything else. Like med school or succeeding in ballet. Nothing easy about it, years of hard work and sacrifice for a distant goal you might never achieve. You really need to want it to do it.

      Another issue I noticed a lot of aspiring writers have is inability to really hear the advice. One of those 'can't handle the truth' problems.. They ask for help and when they are told what it is they need to do, if it's uncomfortable to hear, they ignore it and pester the next person with the exact same question, until they find someone who tells them what they want to hear, and then they go on their merry way until the high wears off and they realise they still have the same problem. The cycle tends to repeat from here on.
      ochesmith, Vandor76, Robert.M and 3 others like this.
    4. ochesmith
    5. Delise
      Instant gratification-age. You hit it right on the nail.
      We expect ourselves to be perfect right of the bat.
      With that mentality, people give up rather than keep trying.
      Practice is what makes you better.
      I was raised with a negative mentality, that if I wasn't good the first time, I would never be good later.

      I think people are afraid of themselves. They run from their dreams.
      I guess being pampered most of your life does that to a person.

      This post you wrote woke me up. I'm glad you took the time to speak your mind.
      Jordan J likes this.
    6. Jordan J
      Jordan J
      All very true. I've found it very difficult to sit down and write something. I need to force myself. Practice makes perf...

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