Wanted: A Little Self-Discipline

I’m a bad writer. I have all these dreams of ‘making it’ as a successful author and turning what is essentially a hobby into a career but when it comes to the crunch I never seem to get anything done. It’s a problem I’ve been aware of for some time now and I finally realised I need to Do Something About It. But what?

My biggest failing (as a writer) is a lack of self-discipline. I have the ideas and can happily churn out plotline after plotline but it all falls down when I sit down to actually write something. Instead of creating a masterpiece I end up getting distracted by other concerns, such as cover design or movies or random pages on the internet and another night passes without me producing anything of note. And it’s been this way for most of the last seven years.

I wasn’t always this bad at motivating myself. Back in early ’06 I actually did finish a short novel, and even went as far as self-publishing it through the POD website lulu.com. The manuscript itself only took me three weeks to write up and to be honest it does show, but at least I got it done. When it was finished and I held the book in my hand for the first time I felt justifiably proud of what I’d achieved. So why can’t I do that now? Why is it so hard for me to sit in front of the computer and just write?

The truth is I don’t really have any excuse other than outright laziness. Wasting time has become a habit and it’s one I need to break if I want to get anywhere with my plans for literary greatness. I need to stop chasing memes on the web and start showing a little discipline where my writing’s concerned. To this end I’ve made a plan (albeit the umpteenth in a series of plans) and I truly do intend to stick to it.

The first part of this plan is to put together a compilation of all my short stories so far. This won’t lead to any sort of commercial release, just a private anthology for friends and family, but I figure it’s a good place to start to get me back into the habit of writing. So far I’ve managed to proof-read and edit all of the ones I have on my hard drive (all forty-five of them) and have even managed to pageset the first seven. Once I have them all pageset I’ll be uploading them to lulu so I can get a handful of copies in print, and I think that may well be the last project I publish through that website (I’ll come back to why in a later post).

After the anthology is finished I’m going to turn my attention to a series I’ve been planning for the last seven or eight years. It’s called Faded Skies, and the first book I’ll be writing is a reboot of the one I mentioned above. As I said, that first edition was rushed and doesn’t stand up all that well to scrutiny. It’s full of holes and bad writing and after reading it a few times I realised that I needed to literally rewrite it all from scratch. I’ve already redrafted the plot and done a lot of background research, and I’m feeling confident that this time I can give the story the attention it truly deserves. All being well I’ll have the first draft of the reboot finished by the middle of the year, though this time around I make no promises about release dates. All I’ll say is watch this space for further news.

Once the manuscript is ready, I then need to design a cover (or possibly pay someone else to design one for me), edit the text, pageset it and publish it. I still haven’t made a final decision on what channels I’m going to release it through but it’s looking increasingly likely that I’ll be using Kindle Direct Publishing for the digital release and CreateSpace for the hardcopy release. However, once again I’ll say watch this space for updates. And then I do it all over again for book two, book three, book four, and so on.

So there it is, the plan in all its glory. All I need to do now is stick to it and stay disciplined. Wish me luck.

2 thoughts on “Wanted: A Little Self-Discipline”

    1. Hi Karl. Thanks for the comment.

      To be honest I find creative writing classes (along with their bastard offspring, writers’ groups) to be more of a hindrance than a help. The former usually seem to focus mainly on the basics of writing, with a slant mostly towards so-called ‘literary fiction’, while the latter invariably seem to be made up mostly of back-slapping cliques interested more in finishing their next anthology rather than actually dicussing or critiquing anything that’s not part of their established curriculum. I have no doubt that there are examples of both out there that don’t suffer from those problems but I’m yet to find them.

      Ah well.

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