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Discipline . . . and Writing Badly

Discipline . . . and Writing Badly

 Elizabeth George in her book WRITE AWAY (page 253) says:

“You will be published if you possess three qualities – talent, passion, and discipline.

You will probably be published if you possess two of the three qualities in either combination – either talent and discipline, or passion and discipline.

You will likely be published if you possess neither talent nor passion, but still have discipline. Just go the bookstore and pick up a few ‘notable’ titles and you’ll see what I mean.

But if all you possess is talent or passion, if all you possess is talent and passion, you will not be published. The likelihood is you will never be published. And if by some miracle you are published, it will probably never happen again.”

This is very encouraging because:
Nine times out of ten Discipline is NOT the problem.

We already have all the discipline we need. And THAT is the problem. The very thing that allows us to write at all – the discipline and the time management – gets in the way when it is time to write. Because now here you are, in your allotted time slot: the kids are taken care of; the chores are done; you’ve got a break from your paying job.

And nothing is coming out of your fingers. And since nothing is happening, it all seems just useless. So, we might as well do Something that is productive, since we all are productive people. At this point, we check the Email. Or we put in a load of laundry. We can at least get that Done.

We need to get out of the “time management” and “work habits” paradigm and Do Nothing.  Or, as the famous saying goes:

Don’t just Do something, Sit there!

Give yourself permission to Write Badly. Write anything. Good sentences, bad sentences. Un-sentences. Anything. If you don’t write the dribble, you won’t be able to occasionally write the good stuff.

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