Yesterday I stepped through the doors of a Shaolin Kung Fu school. My wife has been on me to start being more physical. And she’s right, I need to be more active as I spend more time sitting behind a computer than any human should. I’ve tried doing the videos at home or just doing personal workouts, but nothing has stuck.
It was time to get serious. The last time I had stepped into any dojo or martial art school of any kind was some fifteen years ago. But I really love martial art training. I did some online research and that’s where I found the Shaolin Institute.
You see, I love martial arts because of the discipline. Of which I lack a lot of. It is very easy for me to shrug off my responsibilities in favor of something easier or more fun. Which I think a lot of us are like that. Our natural state is to find the easiest path to whatever we’re doing. If it becomes too hard, we will find something else to do.
So we fight that urge with discipline.
How do we do that? Change of habits, constant dedication, and repetition.
This works for all aspects of life, especially when becoming an author. For those of us starting out, we have to really fight against ourselves. We find it easy to come up with excuses. I’m too tired. I don’t have any ideas. Maybe I’ll just watch some T.V. first.
These excuses are you sitting on the couch in our martial arts scenario. So it’s time to make a drastic change. Get up and join the school.
In my case, that was blocking a site called Reddit from my home machine. Using a Chrome extension, I obliterated that time waster. Now, when my fingers reflexively–out of so much habit–type in the address, a screen pops up that says, “Shouldn’t you be working?”
Yes, yes I should be working.
And I tell you, it’s been great. I’ve been sticking to my discipline.
Right now, a fellow writer that goes by beatbox32 has been chronicling his own struggles and victories with the discipline of writing on a daily basis. It’s been a great read, check it out if you have the chance.
Plus, it will show you that we all struggle with it. Even a lot of published authors still struggle with it. GRRM is notorious for getting sidetracked talking about football, rather than writing the next book in A Song of Ice and Fire.
A quick aside–screw what Neil Gaiman says about readers feeling entitled. I want my next book before the decade is out!
I want to encourage all my fellow writers, whether you’re just starting or have been published many times over. If the discipline that works for you. Do whatever it takes to get yourself writing. Make the sacrifices, whatever they may be.
Believe me, it’s worth it.