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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Writing Needs Discipline

cj Sez:  I wish I could have begged, borrowed, or stolen some of Elmore Leonard’s discipline for writing. What started as necessity for him turned into habit when he became an established writer.

“To support his family, he worked as a copywriter at an ad agency, where he developed his aversion to adverbs, and also his knack for brief, punched-up prose. He began a habit of waking at five a.m. and immediately starting to write -- not even putting the water on for coffee until he had something down on paper -- then going to work at the office, first in advertising and later writing educational films for the Encyclopedia Britannica.”      (Source:  

It used to be that I worked better when I had a short-term deadline at work. Then I thought if I gave myself a deadline, I’d have the incentive to keep going. Found out that’s not true. I have managed to bury any deadline under weeks of procrastination that I called “research.” (Mr. Leonard paid others to do his research.) It seems the more I research, the less creativity I have. I’m getting bogged down in facts, and the story is suffering.

See how discipline can work? (Meme from my Facebook page)


I’m not giving up. Last night I made a note or two when I went to sleep . . . I get a lot of good ideas just before or just after I fall asleep so I keep a pad of paper and a pencil on the table next to the bed. Sundays are for family and etc., so I won’t be sitting in front of this computer for very long but tomorrow . . . that’s when I’ll start working hard. I promise. You. (If I promise myself, I will find some other chore to do.) I suppose some of you might call that procrastinating.

Nope, I’m calling it, delayed discipline.

That’s all for now, but how about you? When do you get your best ideas? How do you conquer the blank page in front of you?

You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.

cj
cjpetterson@gmail.com

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