“Discipline yourself and others won’t have to.” John Wooden
“Some people regard discipline as a chore. For me, it is a kind of order that
sets me free to fly.” Julie Andrews
“Make the work interesting and the discipline will take care of itself.” E.B. White
Discipline: It’s a loaded word, isn’t it? On the one hand, it has the unappealing association of being disciplined as a kid. And on the other, it’s a valued quality that we associate with perseverance and success.
My handy Webster’s dictionary sums up its varied meanings nicely: 1) training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral behavior; 2) control gained by enforcing obedience or order; 3) orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior; 4) self-control: to impose order upon (example: serious writers and their writing style).
Personally, I’ll take flying! I love the way Julie Andrews describes discipline as, “a kind of order that sets me free to fly.” And I love the promise in E.B. White’s words: When work is interesting, order and rhythm flow from it naturally and organically — discipline isn’t imposed, it’s discovered.
So how can we make our work engaging and exciting enough to uncover the hidden discipline we need to push forward and stay with it? A few ideas:
We can approach the page with expectancy. Instead of forcing ourselves to sit down and do what we feel we should be doing, we can revel in knowing we have the power to create new worlds — to set ourselves and our readers free. Who knows what fabulous ideas await?
We can bring an “attitude of gratitude” to our writing. What a gift it is to have the chance to flex our writing muscles — to mine our imaginations and growing skills, to do work that we find restorative and fulfilling!
We can stay curious and open. When we bring an adventurous spirit to our writing, it can lead us where we need to go. Excitement and pleasure take over and we naturally tap into the inner resources we need.
So let’s free ourselves to fly today — and all write on!