Discipline and the First Draft

It occurs to me that as I have mused over the pitfalls and joys of first drafts this week that I have not taken into account the thing that actually brings a first draft to completion: discipline.

Discipline is not a sexy word. It is not an exciting concept. It isn’t romantic or swashbuckling or in any way awe inspiring. Which is too bad, because without it, stories of true love, high adventure, and swashbuckling romance would never get written.

Sometimes, writing is a grind. Sometimes, we have to sit at the computer, even on days when it is sunny and beautiful outside, even when the birds are singing and the tennis court, beach, or yoga studio is calling our names. Some days the words do not flow. Some days the characters simply don’t show up. They take holidays, too, it seems, but still, we go to the computer and we sit and we write.

For all those days when it seemed that your draft would never get finished, that you would never make your deadline, whether self imposed or publisher promised, take a moment right now to honor yourself. Because, if you finished your draft, you deserve to reflect on the fact that it was hard, that sometimes it was grueling, that sometimes you wondered if you’d ever actually pull it off.  Take a moment to honor yourself,  the courage and the sacrifice it took to get those words on the page.

Maybe take a day off. Then, with courage renewed and discipline as your companion and keeper, sit down and start the second draft.

4 Responses to “Discipline and the First Draft

  • This post is like a good tonic — just what I needed at the moment (distracted as I am with the stuff of “everyday life”) even if the remedy makes me scrunch up my nose a litle while I take it.

    THANKS! I needed that!

  • Christy
    8 years ago

    Sophie, you are such a sweetie. Discipline is like a tonic…it doesn’t always go down smooth, but the results are so worth it. 🙂 Good luck with your work 🙂

  • Great post! And very timely, as I struggle with the last 20,000 words of this draft.

  • Christy
    8 years ago

    Thanks Christopher. We are right there with you. 🙂

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