In fact, just yesterday I read a blog by Kristen Lamb, who highlights the fact that 5% of aspiring writers actually finish their books, and only 5% of those go on to the following step and so on and so forth. She used the term career writer, the writer with sustainability, the one who perseveres even after a failed book launch or lacklustre sales numbers.
It would be easy for me, with three books published and another nearly ready for launch, to say clearly discipline is not a problem for me. One does not publish three books in three years and call themselves lazy.
But I am. Or at least I am easily distracted.
Distraction from my writing came to a head this year when, in September, I volunteered for a high level position within my kids' sports team. This position required ten hours a week of devoted time, not to mention the 'soft' time needed to prepare, answer emails and travel. It stole entire weekends and evenings. It made me so tired by the end of my evening I couldn't even think about writing without my body threatening to put me in the foetal position.
After a few months of this I felt like a parasite had latched onto my life, monopolizing my time, taking up far too much grey matter and leaving NOTHING for my first love. It was during this time that I powered to the end of my fourth Peter Ainsley mystery, Sweet Asylum. I
Somehow, amidst all of that, I woke up and saw the real culprit for my predicament. I needed to focus. I needed to give myself wholly and completely to the process of my craft. I resigned from the volunteer position a few weeks ago and have refocused my efforts towards this book. I also sat down and worked out a semi-aggressive schedule for myself that will see me working on a few projects concurrently over the next 52 weeks. The schedule includes varying minimum word counts as well as set periods of time for revisions. It's not so aggressive that it's unachievable but it will require a concerted effort from me to reach the markers I have laid out for myself. Writing down my goals and breaking that down further into steps gives me a clear path to follow.
Perhaps, like writing, discipline is a muscle that can be bulked up, redefined and made stronger the more you put it to work.