Discipline in Writing: Necessary or Overrated?

discipline-clipart-clipart-bootcampWe’ve all heard about the authors who sit down at the computer and crank out 1,000 words a day, every day. Or write 50 or 100 pages, every day. Maybe some of you reading this are just that kind of writer. You believe in discipline. You believe in practicing your craft every minute of the working day. I’ve heard some say that it doesn’t even matter if what you write is good; it only matters that you write.

But is that true?

It might be for you. It’s not for me.

Okay, I freely admit, I have never been disciplined. I would not do well in the army. I would most likely get thrown in the brig and dishonorably discharged within a week. I like variety; no, I crave it. I crave it in what I read, what I write, what I do during my day. And that’s the great part about being indie.

I only write when I feel like it. If I don’t feel like it, I don’t do it. My feeling is that writing without inspiration is a waste of time. I’m sure I’ll get plenty of rotten tomatoes thrown at me for this, but that’s just the way I’m wired. The good news is that, being an indie, and being addicted to variety, I have plenty of other things to keep me busy. If I’m not inspired to work on my latest project, I can usually bang out a blog post or two. If I’m hung up on a section of my book and need to just let it percolate in the back of my brain for a while, I can haunt Facebook or Twitter or Google+. I can check out the latest book showcase sites, the latest industry news items, or check on my Goodreads ad campaigns or my KDP sales numbers. I can do research for any of the half dozen projects floating around in my head. There’s no end to things I can do, all of which are part of and contribute to my writing, but are not, specifically speaking, writing.

I’ve heard plenty of writers say they aim to release one, two, even three books a year. That feels like total panic to me. The pressure would be crushing. I have, actually, released three books in one 12-month period, but it was pure serendipity. I certainly did not set out to do that, didn’t make it a goal for myself. It just happened. Right at the moment, my current WIP is coming along very slowly, no doubt making up for that spate of releases, drawing out the average production time by quite a bit. The great thing is that I don’t care. I have no deadlines. I have no commitments to keep with publishers. A book is done when it’s done and not before.

I am driven by the story and nothing else. Sometimes it’s like pulling teeth. Sometimes it’s like trying to keep my feet in a flood. But whichever way it is — or somewhere in between — it’s what works for me.

What works for you?

Author: Melissa Bowersock

Melissa Bowersock is an eclectic, award-winning author who writes in a variety of fiction and non-fiction genres. She has been both traditionally and independently published and lives in a small community in northern Arizona. Learn more about Melissa from her Amazon author page and her blog.

3 thoughts on “Discipline in Writing: Necessary or Overrated?”

  1. I am the same way, Melissa. If I don’t feel like writing I promote my books, keep before the FB public, etc. etc.

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